Webber defends Heidfeld

Mark Webber was quick to steer away from comparing his performance to his new Williams team-mate Nick Heidfeld, after the Australian set the third fastest time in Saturdays first qualifying for his home Grand Prix.

The duo ran back-to-back in the single-lap qualifying session on a drying track, and Webber finished three seconds faster than seventh-placed German Heidfeld.

But Webber, who joined Williams from the now-defunct Jaguar Racing team at the end of last year, said: "Nick made a small mistake so it is not fair to compare that much."

Webber and Heidfeld had not expected to be running at the sharp end of the field in Sunday's race at Albert Park but a rain shower hit midway through qualifying to leave them in the top half of the pack.

Italian Giancarlo Fisichella finished fastest for Renault with a 2.099-second advantage over Toyota's Jarno Trulli and a further 1.5 seconds ahead of Webber and the order is likely to remain the same after Sunday's final qualifying.

The times from the two sessions will be aggregated and home favourite Webber admitted: "It was a very lucky session for us. Giancarlo was on grooves (dry tyres) and Jacques was too, and he is close to us. It was a bonus for us that it rained. The grid will stay relatively close and (tomorrow) if it is dry, I can't see people being spread out."

Webber is hoping to better his best ever result this weekend by finishing higher than fifth-place - his best result, secured with backmarkers Minardi at Albert Park on his Grand Prix debut, in 2002.
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