Mark Webber says his recovery to fourth place in the Australian Grand Prix gives him confidence that Red Bull is in good shape this year, despite losing out to McLaren in the fight for victory.
Red Bull's slide from being the dominant force in 2011 to one of several teams in the leading pack last weekend was one of the talking points of the first grand prix of the campaign.
Webber took fourth in the race while teammate Sebastian Vettel got between the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to finish second. But Webber was buoyed by his comeback from a first-corner collision at the start, which he feels proved the competitiveness of the RB8.
"I had to rebuild the race from much further back than I had anticipated, but then there were a lot of positives after that," he said. "The pace was very strong.
"I was closing on most people and generally sometimes I was the quickest car on the track. Overall we had some positives, and I think Red Bull Racing leaves here pretty satisfied. Yes, we still got beaten and McLaren did a very good job and Jenson deserved the race, but overall we expected to have a bit of a harder time in the race. In the end I am looking forward to round two and a nice battle next week."
Much like his team boss Christian Horner, Webber is predicting some pretty close fights between Red Bull and McLaren, judging by the competitiveness of the outfits in the Australian Grand Prix.
"We are both pretty well organised teams and we have executed good races from both sides," Webber added. "The drivers are very experienced at getting the cars home, but in the end McLaren had track position in qualifying and we had a bit of catching up to do.
"We all bunched up under the safety car and pretty much followed each other home, so let's see how next week goes. It is pretty early days, but it seems that there are going to be some pretty good battles this year."