Mark Webber is becoming a speck in teammate Sebastian Vettel’s rear
view mirror as the German races clear in the Formula One drivers’
Vettel won his fourth of the five races this season with victory in the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, as Australian Webber battled to finish fourth.
the race title, Webber should have had the jump on Vettel, starting
from pole position and competing in a race won by polesitters for the
previous 10 years.
But he started poorly, was ambushed by Fernando Alonso by the first corner and then by Vettel inside the first lap.
He then spent his race in traffic and playing second-fiddle to his teammate in Red Bull’s pit strategy.
Webber defended his start, and also blamed in part Red Bull’s troublesome KERS system which failed mid-race.
“I don’t think my start was hideous, but Fernando got a phenomenal one,” said Webber.
“Obviously from then on it wasn’t the start we had planned and it was a bit of a chess game.
“I got done by Seb under braking, which wasn’t great, but I still thought I could challenge for the win at this stage.
was quick when I had a clear track ahead of me, but I found myself
behind other cars and the damage to your tyres is exponential when
you’re in dirty air.”
Webber remains third in the drivers’ championship but is 51 points adrift of Vettel – more than two race wins.
Webber’s run in Barcelona was a telling reminder of how much things have turned around for the Australian in the past 12 months.
year he started his championship charge by winning off the pole in
Spain, before being claimed by Vettel for the title in the final race
of the season.
Vettel also holds a commanding overall points
lead over second-placed Lewis Hamilton, whom he engaged in a thrilling
duel in the race’s latter stages.
Vettel finished six-tenths of a second ahead of Hamilton, and his McLaren teammate Jenson Button.
Webber eventually passed Alonso, who finished fifth.
“I am happy with that, so happy,” Vettel said.
“It was very close. I could see Lewis there, he was so close and this was not easy.
“McLaren and Lewis gave us such a hard time and that’s why it feels so good to win this race.”