Mark Webber powers forward in Shanghai on his way to a third fourth-place finish in a row this season. Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel claimed they were satisfied with the 22 points earned with the fourth and fifth places they respectively earned after battling back from bad starts in the Chinese Grand Prix. It’s three fourths on the bounce now. So we leave here reasonably satisfied.
Webber, starting from sixth, made a poor getaway and dropped back to into the midfield but after an early stop to take on a fresh of medium tyres, the Australian began to make up ground. In the closing stages, Webber found himself in a train of cars stuck behind second-placed Kimi Raikkonen, who was struggling on worn tyres after a two-stop race. After being passed by Vettel, also on a two-stop, Raikkonen went offline onto the marbles under pressure and was passed in quick succession by the three-stopping trio of Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Webber. They then set off in pursuit of Vettel, who was by now struggling badly as well.
Webber was the last to pass the defending champion and claimed his third fourth place in a row behind maiden winner Nico Rosberg and the twin McLarens of Button and Hamilton. “It was a pretty difficult race to be honest,” said Webber. “I was struggling a lot with the warm-up on the first few laps, particularly with the fronts, so we lost some positions there. I had a poor start as well, which was very frustrating.
“In the end, fourth is probably not the maximum, but I made a couple of mistakes as well, trying to push, running wide onto that back straight. It was easy to get into the marbles there. “It was just tricky to keep the balance of the car together and keep pushing as hard as possible,” he added. “But in the end we got a handful of points. I think it’s three fourths on the bounce now. So we leave here reasonably satisfied I’d say. At the start of the race it looked like we were going to get a loss less but we got something at the end. Any position you can get towards the end is good. I was seeing P13 and P14 on my board sometimes, so fourth is not bad at all.”
After being passed by Webber in the final laps, Vettel was forced to settle for fifth but after starting 11th and dropping as far back as 15th following a bad start, the defending champion said he was pleased with the result. “I think I missed out a little on the start. I was a bit too late. I wasn’t entirely happy finding the revs and I was a bit confused,” he said. “Usually I’m pretty quick but today I think I was one of the last ones. I didn’t wake up early enough. “Then I lost two positions to the Williams and then in turn one they nearly crashed, I think they did a little bit, and I had to hit the brakes and I didn’t know what was going to happen. Then I lost another couple of positions, so it was a pretty bad stage after the first lap but with the strategy we managed to kind of come back.”
The German added that he wasn’t disappointed to have lost fourth to his team-mate at the end. “Disappointed? No,” he said. “You could ask the same question about whether I was disappointed to lose the position to Jenson and one or two laps later to Lewis. It was getting more and more difficult. I had nothing left in the tyres. I knew that the only chance was to try to escape from Kimi, I think he ran into the same kind of problems really. I had no tyres left. You try to them back to life, get a little bit more out of them but they were pretty dead. I had to react with brake balance, diff, everything I had, so yeah, there was nothing I could have done. Shame, because the podium was so close but yet so far. Nevertheless, as I said, some good points, and a good recovery from 15th.
“We were generally too slow on the straights,” Vettel concluded. “We were losing out a lot of time there. That made it extremely difficult to pass other people to be honest, so I’m pretty happy with fifth, given the poor start and the poor first lap we had.”