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Webber now 'at home' on Pirellis
Mark Webber says he felt "completely at home" on the Pirelli tyres by the end of the 2011 season and addressed some small issues that were holding him back in qualifying.
Webber had a difficult season with just one win compared to team-mate Sebastian Vettel's 11. Early in the season the Red Bull driver struggled to get to grips with the new Pirelli tyres, but said he got on top of them towards the end of the year while his performances were also helped by improved KERS reliability.
"We had some better weekends, we started to get KERS working and I was having to make less pit stops - that was a big thing," he said. "Obviously I was having to do a lot of [wheel-to-wheel] racing by making more stops, which put me more at risk. As the season went on I tended to be on the same strategy as everyone else and that made the racing easier for me."
The tyre compounds are set to be tweaked again before the start of the 2012 season, but after getting his first taste of the 2012 Pirellis during some of the Friday practice sessions at the end of the season, Webber said he feels comfortable on the new-style tyres.
"The biggest thing [in 2011] was the teams and the drivers ultimately got on top of the tyres," he said. "It was such a big learning curve for everyone initially and you saw that with the racing as well - the racing softened up towards the end of the year because everyone got their heads round it, although not completely.
"They are a different tyre to what we had and that's for us to get on with that. Pirelli did a good job to take a lot of the tyres they were looking at for 2012 to the last few races to do some development work. Even when I ran those tyres in Abu Dhabi and Brazil and did bits and bobs on them I felt completely at home on them, so that was encouraging for myself and also for the team."
He added: "We had a good learning curve on lots of things for next year in terms of the team and on my side to address some of the issues that we had in terms of small details which make a big - particularly on Saturday."
Webber will enter his sixth season with Red Bull in 2012 after signing another one year contract at last August. He will be 36 years old when it expires, but insists he is not thinking about age.
"The results are the important thing, not the age," he said. "I've had team-mates who didn't get the results and they were finished when they were 21. Guys can get their results in a lot of sports in the twilight of their career - or whatever it's supposed to be - and that's the most important thing. It's a results based industry, if you don't get the results you don't operate with the top teams."
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