• Australian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Webber targets podium after KERS problem in qualifying

ESPNF1 Staff
March 17, 2012 « Perez gets five-place grid penalty | HRT refused permission to race »
Mark Webber: "Everyone always thinks we have special bits to keep coming back, but this year it's opened right up" © Sutton Images
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Mark Webber is confident he can challenge for the podium at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, despite a disappointing qualifying performance that was not helped by a faulty KERS unit on his Red Bull.

Webber will start from fifth on the grid after qualifying 0.7s off the pace of the McLarens on the front row. However, he was ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, which was all the more impressive considering his KERS failed.

"I didn't have KERS at the end of the session, which affects your rhythm during qualifying - it's a shame as it's been faultless all winter. I'm pleased with my lap in Q3. We can still get on the podium tomorrow, but we have some fast cars around us, no question about it."

After Red Bull dominated qualifying in 2011 most of the paddock was surprised to see the cars qualify on the third row on Saturday, but Webber said it was not such a shock inside the team.

"We knew there were some quick guys out there - McLaren and Mercedes especially and Romain [Grosjean] did well too," he said. "Everyone always thinks we have special bits to keep coming back, but this year it's opened right up."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner is confident his team will be in better shape on Sunday.

"Mark lost his KERS going into Q3, which is the first KERS problem we have had all winter. It's unfortunate that it had to strike at the most critical time of qualifying but, nonetheless, he did an excellent lap to record the fifth fastest time. Fifth and sixth is far from a disaster and with the double DRS zones available this year, I'm sure we can be in better shape tomorrow afternoon."