• Australian Grand Prix

Poor performance baffles Webber

ESPNF1 Staff
March 27, 2011 « Red Bull didn't run KERS - Horner | »
Mark Webber struggled with the Pirellis over a race distance © Sutton Images

Mark Webber was at a loss to explain his lack of pace at the Australian Grand Prix, after admitting team-mate Sebastian Vettel was streets ahead all weekend.

Webber qualified over 0.8 seconds off Vettel on Saturday and then struggled in the race with tyre degradation, which forced him to pit three times. But despite his compromised strategy, Webber never looked like matching the pace of the front runners and finished his home race in a disappointing fifth place.

"I wasn't quick today and it was the same in qualifying yesterday, so we need to understand the reason why," he admitted. "There wasn't much else I could do today. I lost the last position to Fernando [Alonso] during the pit stops and that was it really. It was very frustrating.

However, he vowed not to get too downhearted about his performance given that there are at least 18 races left on the calendar.

"To finish that far behind is not really usual, but let's stay cool; it's the first race," he said. "I'm looking forward to going to Malaysia; I wish the race was tomorrow already. I was in a different race to Sebastian today, so we had to do different things. I was in trouble with the tyres much sooner than he was, so we need to have a look why."

He said Vettel's performance was encouraging for the team even if it was further proof that he had an issue.

"Seb drove a good race, in terms of what the car can do, but it's not normal for me not to go and match the rhythm at the front," he added. "I should be able to stay with these guys, but today I finished a long way behind. It was a tough race and I was pushing as hard as I could, but I wasn't getting much back."

Part of the problem was that Webber destroyed his first set of tyres very quickly and then took on an uncompetitive hard set of tyres for his second stint. Team principal Christian Horner said the team would try to get to the root of the problem, suggesting the high degradation could have been due to the car.

"We took a slightly different strategic route with him running the harder tyre second, as his degradation seemed to be higher than Sebastian's," he said. "It's something we need to look into on Mark's car, as it was an unusual difference between them this weekend that we don't normally see. I'm sure that will be back to normal for Malaysia."