Webber: Quitting over Malaysia ‘certainly not in mind’

2013 Malaysian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2013Mark Webber says he never entertained the possibility of not seeing out the 2013 season following the team orders row in Malaysia.

Speaking to journalists for the first time since the race he said: “I’m definitely keen to finish the season.”

“Obviously a lot of people were even questioning that one which was certainly not something that was in my mind. I’m definitely keen to race this year and put together a very very strong campaign and challenge for more wins. You do enough of that and some more things can happen so that’s the first goal.”

Webber has had one-year extensions on his Red Bull contract in recent seasons and he plans to go through the same process this year:

“The next part is, yeah, year by year, that’s how it’s always been for me so come the summer I will talk to [Red Bull owner] Dietrich [Mateschitz] and then go from there.

“If I’m driving well, performances are good then we’ll make some decisions in the future. But at the moment it’s the second or third race. I’ve never made decisions on my career at this point in the season. Obviously it’s a bit of a topic at the moment for different reasons but I don’t see why I should make any decisions for the future.”

Asked how it would change things for him if Red Bull abandoned their attempts to enforce team orders Webber said it would be “probably easier”.

Vettel’s early stop to cover Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Webber admitted it was “a little bit of a surprise” that team mate Sebastian Vettel was able to pit before him at the final round of stops in Malaysia. That advantage is normally given to the lead driver and it helped Vettel close on Webber to mount his attack.

Webber explained the team were trying to prevent Vettel falling behind Lewis Hamilton, who had got ahead of him through the pit stops earlier in the race:

The gaps were quite awkward, we were trying to manage the gap to Lewis as well which was three seconds,” said Webber. “I think Lewis had pitted on the previous lap, I’m not exactly sure, but Sebastian was exposed again to going behind Lewis, which the team were keen obviously not to have that scenario happen.”

“Four seconds is quite a decent lead but I was in trouble at the back part of that lap already with the tyres. Sebastian then obviously had some fresh tyres ready to go and the out lap was strong and my in-lap was quick as I could go with what I had. So like I said that dropped him straight back into probably a tighter situation than all of us had envisaged.

“I asked for that lap, I wanted that lap but I couldn’t have that lap. Because of the Lewis situation, I think if I asked for that lap I would get it if Lewis was not there, I think I get that lap.

“It was just frustrating margins I think between the three of us that was making it quite tricky management of that last stop window.”

“I was a little bit surprised when Seb went”

Webber added his first pit stop to switch to slick tyres, which allowed him to get ahead of Vettel at the first place, was partly the team’s call and he had been eager to pit later:

“I was not keen. I was a little bit surprised when Seb went, the first sector was late in terms of moisture compared to the rest of the circuit. I was definitely keen on the next lap, that that could work.

“We then got some information that it wasn’t quite right. Lap seven I think was super conservative but we could, also you come out in traffic if you pit like obviously Seb did. Also I think Nico was quite late.

“And this also helps with your slick management of the race as well so if you’re not losing too much… there’s so many scenarios now you’ve got to look at. You get the crossover right but you’ve got more of the race to do on your dry tyres. You’ve got to try to factor a lot of that in which is not easy when you’re in the car, obviously, to think about all that.

“I was surprised the slicks didn’t work as we ll in the first sector as we probably thought they would. But anyway, lap seven was OK, yeah.”

Webber said the Malaysia row was “not an unusual situation” for him. “I’m looking forward to racing this weekend and getting on with it,” he said.

“When you’re at the front in Formula One there’s always going to be stuff going down, it just depends on how much is going down that you’ve got to manage. In the end for me I’m looking forward to driving the car here. I want to put it in first gear and drive out of the garage and get down there and see what the car feels like on the circuit.”

Asked for his view on Vettel’s remarks yesterday that he did not feel the need to apologise for winning Webber said: “If that’s what he thinks, that’s what he thinks. That’s his position on what happened in Malaysia.”

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