Once again, Mark Webber endured a difficult home grand prix last weekend in Melbourne, finishing in ninth despite starting from the front row. Now Webber is hoping to make it right in Malaysia this weekend.
Q. A frustrating race in Australia...
Mark Webber: It was a tough Sunday for the team. We did a very good job all weekend and then the race was tough. Both cars on the front row and the rain at the start made things more intense, if you like, and there are more variables. Both of us probably had gotten the hardest part of the race out of the way, which was the first five or six laps. Obviously, when it comes to making the calls, with a bit more rain coming, it was just a very difficult part of the race.
We had a lot to lose so in the end it didn't work out. Seb [Vettel] just got away with it, and I had to do an extra lap, and then I obviously lost quite a few spots and was in a lot of traffic. Frustrating, but that's the way it is. You don't get the results given to you.
Q. Niki Lauda said today that that was it, Red Bull can't win the championship.
MW: There's 750 points left, I think. He's capable of giving his own opinion but the championship is not over, I don't think. It finishes in November. There's a long way to go.
Q. Is the reliability a bit of a worry, though?
MW: No one is trying harder than us.
Q. But is there a sense of frustration?
MW: Yeah, but we are strong. There's lot of people who have been in a same position for a long time. And we had a sensational year last year. There were very proud people last year and they are still now. We are a sensational team, we really are. Every position is virtually unchanged from years before. We haven't executed the first two races as we would have liked, but we have 17 to go and we are looking to capitalize on that.
Q. What exactly do you need to do to make sure the car is as reliable as it is fast?
MW: Well, making it reliable is the most important thing. We've had two different problems in the first two races, so that can happen. We hope they are all behind us and that's what we have to do, continue to work on the things that probably let us down in the past. We are as hard on ourselves as anybody else thinks they can be on us.
Q. Do you think there's kind of a psychological war or pressure against you, maybe coming from McLaren?
MW: It's normal when people are talking lots about the opposition, whether it's boxing, football, whatever. It's a good situation for us to be, but we know we need to do better, and that's what we are aiming to do. Hopefully, this conversation will be very different on Sunday night.
Q. Will this track play to your strengths or weaknesses, with long straights?
MW: Well, Bahrain as well, the car was very good there and that has some very long straights, some slow corners. There's no reason we shouldn't be competitive, whether it's boring-competitive, we'll see. Maybe not. We know McLaren has a good top speed with the system they've got. That's why it was hard to race Lewis in Melbourne. But we are confident that our car is very competitive at all venues.
Q. Looking at the last part of the race, when you had the crash, do you think you could have done something better?
MW: Absolutely. I thought initially when they went down together into Turn 13, I think Lewis was going to have a go on the outside, because when he hit the brakes he was a long way up the side of him [Alonso]. It was my fault, but we are were racing to try to go on the podium and it was close to the last lap of the grand prix. There were six sectors to the finish, so obviously you then push very hard for a result.
It certainly wasn't the cleanest afternoon for me in terms of racing, but when you get back in the pack a little bit out of position with the top speeds we had, it was quite difficult to overtake. It was slippery off line, there were lots of things which made it a bit more trick, but in the end we got what we deserved, which was two points, which is not enough obviously.
Q. Rivals have suggested Red Bull has an adjustable ride system.
MW: Our car has passed all the regulations. Until we get pulled out for something, obviously things change, but...
Q. Is the rain here a worry?
MW: We know the rain here is massively unpredictable and it doesn't spit, it pisses here. We know that. So, generally, it is very hard to have a car race when it rains here. There have been grands prix here run in the past in those conditions. Last year, obviously, it was a shame it went dark. So we have a bit more time to suspend the race a bit longer.