• Australian Grand Prix

Inquest begins on Webber's race

ESPNF1 Staff
March 29, 2011 « Boullier relieved exhaust paid off | »
Mark Webber keeps his thoughts to himself at the end of a disappointing race © Sutton Images
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Mark Webber admitted his post-race debrief on Sunday lasted longer than normal after his disappointing fifth-place finish at the Australian Grand Prix, as his Red Bull engineers tried to find out why he was so far off the pace of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

"We found a few pointers in the data but we'll need to strip the car down before drawing any conclusions," Webber said in his column in the Telegraph. "Only then will we know whether something was broken, or whether there was something fundamentally wrong with the car.

"More than anything, I struggled with a lack of grip. That affected the longevity of my Pirelli tyres because the degradation was much higher on my car than on Seb's. I was forced to make three pit stops during the race, whereas he dominated proceedings with a two-stop strategy.

"When I was told that Sauber's Sergio Perez completed 34 laps on the soft tyre and did just one pitstop in the entire race, I was blown away. That was very impressive and it proved that the durability of the tyre was there, if you could unleash it.

"Immediately after the start at Albert Park, I was pleased with my pace. I got away from the grid well and retained my third place on the run to the first corner, despite not having KERS on my car. I was all over Lewis Hamilton's gearbox during the opening laps and thought the new DRS rear wing would help me overtake him. As I entered the pit straight on lap three, I utilised the drag-reducing rear wing and it made no difference. OK, I gained on Lewis a little bit, but not by enough to make a pass into Turn 1. From that moment I knew it would be difficult to finish second."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner was also understandably keen to find out what happened. "We need to go through things with a fine tooth comb," he said. "That was the biggest gap we've seen between the two of them that I can certainly think of.

"We found some front wing damage that might have had an effect, but to what extent is difficult to quantify. We need to get the car back, look at the data, understand if there is anything that was damaged, how it affected the car, and make sure they're both back to business as usual in Malaysia."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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