• Chinese Grand Prix

Vettel's second place good for championship - Webber

ESPNF1 Staff
April 17, 2011 « Vettel happy with 'difficult' second | »
Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel celebrate third and second on the podium © Sutton Images
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Mark Webber admitted he was relieved to see Lewis Hamilton loosen Sebastian Vettel's early stranglehold on the 2011 championship at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Vettel won the first two races but was beaten by Hamilton at Shanghai as Webber recovered from a terrible qualifying performance to complete the podium in third. Webber is now 31 points adrift of his Red Bull team-mate and said it was good for the competitiveness of the championship that someone put an end to Vettel's early-season dominance.

"Congratulations to Lewis, it's good that someone finally … of course Seb's in the same team, but he's been at the front all along and we're all fighting for the championship," he said. "So a shame that McLaren won in a way, but also we can't let Seb get too far away, so it was a good day for the racing and a good day for points for our team."

After fighting through the field during the race, Webber said his strategy only came together once he ditched the hard tyres and started making use of the brand new soft tyres he had saved in qualifying by not taking part in Q2 and Q3.

"It was an interesting grand prix," he added. "We decided to start on the hard tyres in the first stint, which we know is not the most desirable tyre for everyone in the field because it doesn't really have the characteristics of a hard tyre in terms of duration sometimes. We got that out of the way but that was quite tricky, even with the guys we were with, because everyone was using the DRS at the same time. It wasn't easy to come back through those guys and I had a mistake on the entry to turn two on my in-lap, basically there wasn't much left on my tyres.

"But I got the car back to the pits and we really started from there. When you see P17 on your board after 15 laps or whatever it was you think how's this going to come together? The all of a sudden I felt comfortable in the car and obviously had a few sets of tyres left after qualifying and that helped a bit, maybe that's the best way to do it all the time - not even take part in qualifying and go from there! But all jokes aside, I think the guys have done an incredible job over back-to-back races and we clearly haven't had the best of luck with my car, but they haven't given up and that was the drive for them today and everyone at the factory."

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