Tuesday, 5 November 2013 00:56
AAP: Poor start or not, Mark Webber admits he was probably never going to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with teammate Sebastian Vettel in red-hot form.
It took less than 100 metres for the Australian to relinquish his 13th career pole position to Vettel, who went on to lead every lap of Sunday’s race and post his seventh successive victory.
Webber’s second-place finish gave Red Bull their 15th 1-2 in Formula One and 100th podium, with Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg rounding out the top three.
It was the eighth time in nine races that Webber has given up pole to another driver; only once in the past two-and-a-half years has he held onto it to win – at Monaco last year.
But instead of ruing his lost chance at a valedictory win in his final season as a Formula One driver, Webber said he was happy with his second-place and sang Vettel’s praises.
“What Sebastian did to the rest of us in the race, I don’t think the start in the end was going to be that important,” the 37-year-old said.
“He was so strong in that first stint, he was in another planet – pulling away and not wearing the tyres out. He just positioned himself very, very well to then unload the strategy in a very, very powerful fashion from there against the rest of us.
“That made it more difficult for us to even stay (near him). He had a pitstop in hand even at the end, so he could’ve had another stop and come in for a coffee and gone again. In the end, it was probably the best result I could get today – irrespective of what happened off the line.”
Vettel’s win drew him level with compatriot Michael Schumacher’s mark of seven successive wins (2004) and should he win the last two races of the season he will equal the overall record of nine held by Alberto Ascari (1952/53).
The 26-year-old, who also equalled his personal record set in 2011 of 11 race wins in a season, can also match Schumacher’s overall record of 13 wins in a campaign if he lands the final two races of the season.
Vettel was ecstatic at his victory, especially as it came in front of his parents. “I have spent most of my life racing in front of them (his parents) as a kid. The toys are a bit bigger now, but I am so pleased they are here to see me today,” he said.
“They taught me lots of good things and one day I want to pass that on to my children if I have them. So today I dedicate this victory to them.”
The penultimate round of the season begins next weekend in Austin, Texas, before the year’s final race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from November 22.
“There are only a couple of races to go and I’ll be doing my best to go out with a win,” Webber added. “Seb was too strong today, but I’ll keep pushing until the end and see what happens.”