Mark Webber says strong start key to 2012 championship hopes

Mark Webber believes he must hit the ground running at the start of 2012 if he is going to be able to take the fight to Sebastian Vettel next year

Mark Webber says strong start key to 2012 championship hopes

The Australian believes his title hopes this season faltered on the back of a poor opening part to the campaign, whereas Vettel won five of the opening six races.

Webber thinks it vital that the situation is not repeated next year - which is why he is targeting a better winter testing programme so he can build momentum ahead of the first race

"He [Vettel] had a great run at the start of the year and I wasn't really on top of everything at the start," said Webber. "Obviously I had quite a few reliability issues as well, which is never ideal.

"In the end I think my form has been a lot better in the last few races for sure, and unfortunately when I got in the lead in the Nurburgring I didn't have the car to win anyway. So, it was difficult there - and Spa was probably the most frustrating race of the year in terms of being the quickest guy in the race and having to deal with a tough start to the race and then missing the safety car with a free pit stop. That happens.

"It was a missed opportunity but it was going to be very, very difficult for me to put together a championship together against Seb given the start he had."

When asked by AUTOSPORT about what he felt he needed to do better in 2012 if he was to take the fight to Vettel, Webber said: "We need to have a better start, for sure, to the championship. And we need to have a similar year to what I had last year; out qualify him more often, which was certainly the case last year, and then getting track position and getting the stops.

"That is where it is important to get that, and if you don't get that you are always going to finish one position behind. If you are on the road 1-2 or 2-3, you never really get the momentum."

Webber thinks it took him until the European Grand Prix at Valencia to really get to grips with the nature of the Pirelli tyres - especially in how to look after them over a race distance.

"In Valencia it was a bit of a change for me, I could do the same strategy for the first time," he said. "In all the races before that, I had the pace but I had to make an extra pit stop, and I don't really understand why that happened but it did.

"In Valencia there was a bit of a point in terms of things changing there for my Sunday performance because before then I had to make this extra stop, which is always littered with problems. It gets difficult to clear traffic and coming through, those sorts of things.

"I think it will be much more stable next year in terms of continuity of the tyres and certainly we need to put up a better fight than we did this year, there is no question about it. It is just a case of that's the way the cookie crumbled this year."

shares
comments
Petrov not worried about future at Renault
Previous article

Petrov not worried about future at Renault

Next article

Lewis Hamilton tops shortened first practice for the Singapore Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton tops shortened first practice for the Singapore Grand Prix
Load comments
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Plus

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021