Webber out to put McLaren in their place

Date published: April 22 2011

Mark Webber says Red Bull will be “looking to put McLaren back in their place” when the European season kicks off in just over a fortnight…

Mark Webber says Red Bull will be “looking to put McLaren back in their place” when the European season kicks off in just over a fortnight.

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull dominated in the opening two races in Australia and Malaysia, but McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton hit back with victory in the Chinese Grand Prix.

With the first flyaway leg of the season completed, teams now have a few weeks to iron out a few problems before the Turkish Grand Prix on May 8.

Red Bull will no doubt be looking to sort out the KERS issues which dogged both their drivers in the first three races.

Webber feels once their technical gurus get on top of the hybrid system, they will be confident of seeing off the challenge of McLaren.

“It’s a key component in F1 this year and Red Bull Racing are not out of the woods with our system yet,” the Australian wrote in his Herald Sun column.

“We didn’t run KERS in 2009 and we’re playing catch-up to the likes of McLaren and Ferrari, who did.

“The 80bhp boost that the system gives you for 6.6s per lap is worth between 0.3s and 0.5s per lap, depending on the circuit, and I had to race without it from lap 24 on Sunday.

“If we can get the system reliable in time for Istanbul, we’ll head to the race with confidence. The RB7 is already a great car and we’ll be looking to put McLaren back in their place after Lewis Hamilton’s victory in China.

“It’s going to be a great fight; I can’t wait.”

As for his charge from 18th on the grid to third place in Shanghai, Webber admits he wasn’t aware he was right behind his team-mate during the closing stages of the race.

“The car was sensational to drive, my pitstops were good and I had to do a bit of driving as well. It was a good job all round,” he wrote.

“When I saw the Red Bull of my team-mate Sebastian Vettel ahead of me in the closing stages, I initially thought it was one of the Toro Rossos.

“I’d been so focused on what I was doing that I hadn’t asked for my position and I couldn’t believe that I was only three seconds behind Seb, who’d started on pole position.

“For both of us to be on the podium, albeit neither of us on the top step, was a good result for the team.”