Mar.18 (F1 Media) Fifth place on the grid for his home grand prix was the best Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber could deliver in Melbourne after a mid-session KERS failure hampered the Australian driver’s progress in the top-10 shout-out.
It was a case of history repeating for Red Bull who suffered the same problem in qualifying for last year’s Australian Grand Prix, though in 2011 the Red Bull KERS had precious little mileage behind it, this year the failure came as a complete surprise. “The KERS has been faultless all winter, absolutely faultless and then some to Q2 and suddenly we don’t have it,” said Webber wryly. “That’s the way it can go some times. We’re looking forward to going forward tomorrow.”
Despite believing he would have been higher up the grid with a functioning energy recovery systems Webber insisted that he did not consider a healthy RB8 to be an automatic contender for pole position. “We knew there were some quick guys out there, to be honest, particularly McLaren and Mercedes had also looked a little bit threatening in the build-up to this event,” he said. “But that’s F1. Everyone thinks we have special stuff but clearly it’s opened right up. We know where we need to improve and it’s something we’ll be doing – but let’s see how the car runs during the race: they haven’t handed out any trophies yet.”
Webber complimented McLaren on their front-row shut out but also paid tribute to compatriot Daniel Ricciardo’s efforts to get his Toro Rosso into tenth place. “He’s right in the guts of it there for some great experience tomorrow, he did a really, really good job,” said Webber.
Also singled out for praise was third-placed Romain Grosjean. “I’m really happy to see him back: He had a tough time in his first year in Formula One and it takes character and guts [to come back]. He’s persevered with the categories on the fringe of F1. He’s not a guy that brings a gazillion dollars to F1, he’s worked hard to get where he has, but of course we want to pass him tomorrow!”