Webber chalks up seventh podium of the year

"The picture looks different to how it did 24 hours ago"


By Franck Drui

30 August 2010 - 12:08
Webber chalks up seventh podium of (...)

Mark added another 18 points to his championship tally at Spa-Francorchamps today when he finished second in the Belgian Grand Prix. His race was anything but straightforward, however. He started from his fifth pole position of the year, but a technical glitch at the start resulted in him dropping to seventh by the exit of Turn 1.

“The car bogged down as I left on the formation lap,” says Mark, “so I made some changes to the settings in the hope that I’d make a better start when it mattered. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case; it was even worse! The car bogged down again and cars streamed past me.”

Mark didn’t dwell on his misfortune. Almost immediately, he passed Adrian Sutil and he then executed a brilliant move around the outside of Felipe Massa at Rivage to take fifth. Further progress was halted by the deployment of the Safety Car at the end of the opening lap, due to an accident involving Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello.

“After the start the car felt fine,” says Mark, “which was a bit of a relief because we’d only done a handful of dry laps all weekend. I enjoyed my battles with Adrian and Felipe and it was a bit frustrating to be held up, first by the Safety Car and then by Jenson Button once we were back racing. Jenson’s slow pace allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull away at the front.”

The status quo was altered on lap 17 when Button and Sebastian Vettel collided at the Bus Stop chicane. This promoted Mark to third behind Robert Kubica and he then set about trying to jump ahead of the Polish driver at the pitstops.

“The guys did a fantastic job to turn me around in 3.6s,” says Mark, “but it wasn’t quite enough to emerge ahead of Robert, who also had a good stop. I stayed on his gearbox and waited for another opportunity.”

That chance came on lap 35, when rain forced all of the cars to pit for either intermediate or wet tyres. The pitlane was very slippery and Kubica overshot his pitbox, which gave Mark the chance to breeze ahead of his rival. It was then a case of stroking his RB6 home in the difficult conditions.

“The track conditions were pretty tricky at the end of the race,” says Mark. “We put on intermediates and at one point it looked as though wets might be needed, but we made it to the end of the race fine. Second was a great result, given where I ended the opening lap.”

Mark crossed the line 1.5s behind race winner Hamilton and the pair are now separated by just three points at the top of the drivers table. With Vettel, Button and Fernando Alonso failing to score in Belgium, the landscape of the 2010 world championship was changed dramatically at the picturesque Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

“I have 28 points more than Seb,” says Mark, “with Jenson and Fernando further behind. The picture looks different to how it did 24 hours ago, but there are still six races/150 points available, so I’m not getting too excited. Roll on Monza.”

From www.markwebber.com

Formula 1 news