Webber knocked out in Q1 on “frustrating day”

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2011
Mark Webber, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2011

Mark Webber will start the Chinese Grand Prix with 17 cars in front of him after being eliminated in the first part of qualifying.

Team mate Sebastian Vettel starts tomorrow’s race from pole position.

Webber gambled on not using a set of soft tyres during the session despite not being able to run his Kinetic Energy Recovery System following a problem.

He missed the cut by three-tenths of a second. Webber said it was: “A very frustrating day.

“Did one lap in P3, trying to get into things in Q1 and, yeah, we got caught out on the first set and we just weren’t quick enough at the end of the day.

“We’ve got a few plates spinning in the background so we paid the ultimate price today for that.”

Webber didn’t finish his response to a question about why he didn’t use soft tyres in the first practice session, suggesting he wasn’t happy with his second set of hard tyres:

“I thought we had enough to get through but turns out the second set of primes…”

Team principal Christian Horner said the team decided to send him out on hard tyres because they felt it should have been possible to get into Q2:

“It was the team’s call because it looked like another set of primes should be more than enough. The pace that we saw in the car this morning even with Mark’s short amount of running should have been enough to comfortably make it through. But with the tyres not being up to temperature it’s obviously compromised him.

“He’s just had rotten luck this weekend and I’m sure he can race well from there.”

Horner said Webber had been unable to get enough heat into the tyres:

“It’s been a rotten day for Mark today. He had an electrical issue this morning and a massive effort by the entire crew, including the mechanics on Sebastian’s car, to get the car ready for quali.

“His first run wasn’t great so then we went around again on the prime. And unfortunately those tyres weren’t quite up to temperature for his first lap and he missed out.

“So it’s just one of those things but it’s disappointing for Mark and for the team that we haven’t got both the guys up there where we want them to be.

“We thought there would be enough performance there to do it on the prime. Everything we’d seen previously and from this morning suggested that you should be able to do it on the first lap on the prime. We shouldn’t need to have run the option.

“Obviously it’s very easy with 20:20 vision on hindsight to say that was a mistake and we should have gone on the option.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    48 comments on “Webber knocked out in Q1 on “frustrating day””

    1. I noticed Webber’s frustration in his interview. It very much looked like he was about to criticise the Pirelli’s but then thought better of it. He’s not a happy man in that team I believe – regardless of whether there is any truth to the various conspiracies.

      Last season in red bull for him I predict!

      1. I think he’s just having some bad luck with reliability. He should win a few races this year, but Red Bull have got to sort it quickly, otherwise Sebastian will never be caught.

        1. Seb doesn’t seem to be having the same problems.

          1. Yes, interesting that isnt it….

            I cant believe for one moment that Webber is suddenly significantly slower than Vettel….

            1. mito Andy C – seems that “let them race” is no longer the motto at RB. Looking forward to MW pushing his way through the field, a good tyre strategy and some luck going his way to a finish in the top 5.

          2. He had his share of them last year, didn’t he?

            1. Webber did have some car performance problems suddenly at the end of last season yes …

            2. …like him driving it slowly in Abu Dhabi.

            3. Driving slowly or defective chassis? When vettel was slower it was the chassis, but when Webber suddenly is slower (after a crash) it’s his own fault.

        2. I agree Damon.

      2. Last season in red bull for him I predict!

        After Q1 I thought: “Now he will leave Red Bull after this GP!”

    2. On the upside, expect to see him adopt an aggressive strategy and work his way through the field like he did in Malaysia.

      1. I dont know what aggressive strategy he could adopt? Starting off on hards really isn’t that great an idea, as he would want to make up most of his ground at the start. I think he is going to have to race his wheels off tomorrow if he wants to finish in the top 8.

      2. An aggessive is good to use if you start near the front. Aggressive strategies are highly unlikely to work when starting from 18th, they rely a lot on the driver consistantly putting in good lap times. To put in good lap times, you need clear air in front of you, which Webber won’t have.

        1. I recommend Webber flooring it as soon as he sees one red light on, jump the field get ahead bang in as many laps as possible until the stewards realise he has missed the start, form a commite, think about it, editate and give him a drive thourgh, then take the drive through and he should be better offf.

          On the other hand, maybe he could take a gear box change, and a 9th engine now replacing his current one.

          Webber has 3 big problems

          1) He is 18th
          2) He has no KERS. No KERS = bad start, which means that as soon as he starts he will then be swamped by Lotus’, Virgins’ and HRT’s. Which will put him dead last.
          3) Slow cars slow him down in the twisty bits and only DRS against KERS (and possibly DRS going too) means no overtaking on a straight. We saw how the HRT was pulling away with the DRS against a non DRS Alonso in practice on friday. DRS does ab=out the same as KERS down the straight. That is how Webber is going to find it.

          On a serious note…

          Perhaps he should just not start the race and save his engine and stuff… or maybe drive into a wall, right off the car and get everything new… it would atleast force RBR to give him new parts

          1. Lotus, Virgins and HRTs do not have KERS, so I doubt he will get swamped by them.

            1. That’s about the only good news for Webber.

    3. I’d feel a bit better if it turns out Mark has a good excuse for this shocking performance, but he always does seem to have some excuse, doesn’t he?

      1. I reckon there was a genuine problem today, but he can’t say because it would reveal Red Bull’s weaknesses to the world.

        1. the-muffin-man
          16th April 2011, 10:07

          Regardless of car issues, Weber’s main problem is between his ears.

          He thought he could start the season on level terms with Vettel, but Vettel has just upped his game to a new level. To me Webber is very much a confidence driver like Massa, and once it goes wrong he stuffed.

          1. Couldnt disagree more… he doesnt suddenly become significantly slower than Seb.

            1. I think it’s a combination. Webber’s car has been plagued with KERS issues from day 1, that Vettel’s car hasn’t had so far. Vettel’s on a cloud of confidence after winning the championship, and driving better than ever. Webber conversely is struggling with some demons, and the reliability must be doing a number on his psyche. If they can sort out his car I think he’ll be back on form pretty quickly, and once he get’s a great result it’ll boost his confidence and his driving will get a boost as well. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t win at least one race this year with the RB7 underneath him.

          2. I think that’s a little extreme. It’s still early days, we’re only 10% through the season and there will be plenty of drama to come including victories for Webber.

            The difference, or one of the differences between Webber and Massa is that Massa seems ‘comfortable’ (puts up with?) that position. Mark wouldn’t and would make it abundantly clear.

        2. He had no KERS again I believe, as the BBC footage showed him getting out of the car very quickly this morning and smoke coming out.

          Its really strange the sudden lack of pace on 1 side of the garage this year.. I’m surprised to say the least

      2. Last season Webber beat Vettel a few races in a row and the team insisted that it must have been a chassis problem for Vettel.

      3. but he always does seem to have some excuse, doesn’t he?

        Don’t all racing drivers? :P

    4. What goes around, comes around.

      Last season it was Vettel who had the unreliability. This season it is Webber.

      1. And still Vettel won. So Webber having problems this year should work to double the distance between them, which is precisely what’s happening.

        Fact is Vettel was better for most of last season but had some bad starts and iffy moments when he fell behind from the grid start. This year he’ll have the championship won before Webber has woken up to even start to challenge him. >>FF 2012?

    5. Will be interesting to see how many places Webber can gain during the race, compared to Bahrain 2009.

    6. Webber must think he is back in the Minardi with this start to the year. Unfortunately I think he is discovering fast that he really is the No#2 driver this year.

      But what a stupid choice by the team to send him out on Hard tyres. Heidfeld and Massa had gone out before Webber had left the pits and they set fast times. He was the only driver to go out on hards for their last run. No KERS + Hard Tyres = No Q2.

      The year will stay like this for Webber until Vettel has the title in the bag.

      Go the one stopper Mark!!

      1. But what a stupid choice by the team to send him out on Hard tyres.

        It worked fine for Vettel and both McLarens, they just got him out too late to get two laps in to sufficiently warm up the tires. Hindsight is always 20/20 in F1 isn’t it?

    7. Given Webber was 15th in Q1 in Malayasia, and no KERS during Quali, I can’t believe that the team adopted such a conservative and high risk strategy during Q1 in China! I think the team is smarter and more experienced than to make a mistake like that.

    8. To be honest, I don’t think there’s anything more to it than the KERS problem and not choosing the right tyres. Usually you can be forgiven for taking a gamble on tyres especially in Q1 and Q2 if you’re in one of the top cars but without KERS it’s just too much.

      That said, starting on new tyres will aid him. I just wonder whether or not having that potential pit-stop over everyone else will be enough to negate the deficit he has to make up to get anywhere near the top.

    9. That’s the first time a red bull hasn’t made q3 in a long time. Since brazil 09 isn’t it?

    10. “Webber” didn’t gamble on the hard tyre strategy in Q1, the “team” did – Christian Horner confirmed as much in the BBC coverage afterwards.

    11. vettel also didnt use the soft tyres in Q1. he was more than a second faster than Webber. i dont think all of that is due to the KERS.

      so far it looks like Vettel is in his own league within RBR. now that team orders are officialy alowed this season might be over sooner than we thought.

      1. Incorrect. Vettel 1:35.674 vs Webber 1:36.468. So ~0.8s. 0.4 for no KERS + 0.4 for single lap on cold tires.

        1. But in Q3 Fattle was even 2 seconds faster than in Q1, so he wasn’t pushing at all in Q3. So what was Webber doing?!

    12. He will win a race midseason, and at the post-race press conferance he will publically announce his retirement before exiting in front of the cameras.


    13. I might not even watch the race tomorrow. This is really disappointing.

      But congratulation to Sebastian Vettel on winning the 2011 championship. Nice job.

    14. He need to outpace Vettel. He’s becoming No.2 driver now.

    15. doance… not over yet buddy… i for sure am pretty much amazed at the gap… seems like it is unreal… i sure hope someone gets the jump on him at the start… perhaps ham will not put up with the blocking at the start this time and get aggresive and they can remove a few parts from each others cars… not wishing any injuries on any one, but a cut right rear coupled with a drs failure on the rbr and a front wing yard sale on ham might be just what we need… then we can see vettle show us just how well he can overtake…

    16. I think marko should be made to be the stop/go man for webber!! That would be a tempting situation!!!!

    17. Prisoner Monkeys
      17th April 2011, 2:05

      Great. When the telecast starts today, I’m going to have to listen to an hour of The Morons telling us that Webber’s failure to qualify was not because he made a mistake, but because of KERS issues. Anything to make out that Webber’s woes are not his own doing … Australians should be banned from the sport if we have to put up with this nonsense for much longer.

      1. ‘Paid the ultimate price’? I don’t mean to be pedantic, but I don’t think that qualifying badly actually killed him…

        1. That was not meant to be a reply to PM, by the way…

      2. The coverage on OheHD isn’t bad, at least we get an hour of pre-race coverage instead of nothing!
        And surely Webber should be cut some slack- today was not his own doing at all.

    18. lol this seems like a long time ago now. when i first saw this article i refused to believe it was true!

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