Despite finishing the day off the pace of teammate Sebastian Vettel in qualifying, Mark Webber was encouraged by the performance of his Red Bull team.
Q. Did you expect to be a bit farther up the grid?
Mark Webber: Yeah. I stuffed up Turn 16 in sector two. I had a big rear lock up into there which was a bit of a surprise, but I lost two and a half tenths in there then I was trying to get it back in 19 and managed to lose myself another four tenths! So it was a very frustrating middle sector for me, hence I dropped a few rows. So we are back a bit. But it is a long afternoon tomorrow and I am looking forward to seeing how it is going to go. We clearly have a quick car and the guys have done a phenomenal effort over the winter, getting everything ready.
It's great to see the car on pole position, which is a great reward for all the guys. We have some exciting races for all the guys starting with tomorrow.
Q. Is Sebastian's pole position a relief or does it just add to the frustration you are feeling?
MW: Well you can only do your best and I know that I didn't do that today. I did some pretty decent laps at times and obviously Seb and I got close at periods but we weren't close when it counted and, at the end of the day, I could have done a better job and that is the most frustrating thing for me.
Q. At least you know the car is good though, right?
MW: Oh, yeah. It makes it more frustrating but it is always nice to know that you have a car that is capable of more.
Q. What changed between yesterday and today because the car seemed to be a different machine this morning?
MW: Well we didn't really know what people were doing yesterday. It looks like people were running a little bit lighter than us maybe. So this team works hard, like a lot of them in the pit lane. We keep our heads down and try to focus on the car. It was not that different from today to yesterday actually, other than fuel loads.
Q. How do you think you and Sebastian will carry this pace into the race tomorrow?
MW: Well it is a great start for us to have a car showing this quality of performance this early on. Also on a track that might have been a testing circuit for us in terms of layout, so that's another feather in our cap – for today only. Tomorrow is a whole new ballgame and we are in a good position. Sebastian is in a great position, but I am in not too bad a position to move forward from there.
Q. What about tire management?
MW: Well yeah, it's the same for everyone. This is the big unknown. Today there were a few questions answered, tomorrow there will be even more answered on how we approach the grand prix.
Q. There have been some suggestions that the Red Bull is harder than the Ferraris and Mercedes on its tires. Is that a worry?
MW: There is not a team in this pit lane [not] worried about their tires tomorrow.
Q. How hard will it be to start the race on option tires with full tanks?
MW: It's pretty easy actually. The car is easier to drive, but they are slow. The tires certainly don't like it. It's a different category, we know the times we are doing today, tomorrow the first three or four laps of the race will be seven or eight seconds slower.
Q. When do you think you will start enjoying the race?
MW: Well if you are overtaking people...it's all relative. If I am moving forward I'll be enjoying it. I suspect a lot of people will have certain parts of the race which are frustrating for them. Try and keep the learning to a minimum tomorrow and looking forward to it.
Q. Did you expect Michael Schumacher to be where he is?
Q. Is it more difficult, without refueling, to make up the grid slots you dropped today?
MW: Actually it was probably worse, if I made a mistake with a light car last year and other guys were heavy around me it would have been hard to overtake them. So we now have at least the same fuel load. The best thing to do is not to make a mistake in qualifying. Normally it doesn't work out too bad for me, but today it didn't work out.
Q. Are you expecting rough and tumble in the first corner?
MW: I think most people will get under way and try and get the championship under way. We'll see how it goes.
Q. Have you ever started a race with this much weight, even in sports cars?
MW: I've done it a lot. We've done it a lot in testing – all the drivers know what to expect from the car's performance. It's not going to be like today. The drivers have a good feeling for what to expect and I suspect that after the first few laps the race will go on from there.
Q. What did you think of the performances of the new teams?
MW: I haven't even seen it. It's clear that HRT aren't competing this weekend, they are participating. They aren't here to race.
Q. Does that include a danger factor for you when you are lapping them?
MW: I think they have got so many things on their plate. They are doing everything they can not to be a danger when we are doing our stuff. With the other guys, they have done a pretty sound job. I read the 107 percent rule will be back next year which is a good thing. Paul Stoddart always had that and he had to [fight] every year to try and beat that rule, and sometimes even Stoddy's cars had to go home. I think it's a good rule to get the ceiling of quality and preparation at the right level.
Q. From a GPDA point of view, you have a guy who has only done a few laps in an F1 car in his life, are you not worried about that?
MW: As I say, he is participating, they are not racing at all. He has got some pretty good experience in some other junior categories which is a good thing. It's not like a few years ago in Budapest when we had some Israeli guy which was total bananas. At least Chandhok knows the score and he has spoken to us. They are out there doing a shakedown in the middle of a grand prix, which is OK. Some will argue it's not great, some will argue it's got to be done.
Q. Are all the new drivers GPDA members?
Q. What would you say to somebody who wants to put money on you becoming World Champion?
MW: Well, it's a better chance than lots of other people on the grid. I'm not a betting man anyway.