Webber: I think the usual suspects will be up front at Sepang

Mark Webber at Sepang
Mark Webber at Sepang

Mar.22 (F1 Media) Despite being a vastly different track, Mark Webber expects the front three rows for this weekend’s Malaysian GP, at Sepang, to be filled by the same teams that did so in Australia last weekend.

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8. Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday 18 March 2012.
Mark during the Australian GP

When asked if he thought the good grip and long straights of Sepang would produce a grid unlike the one seen at tight, slippery Albert Park, Webber demurred, saying he believed the front of the order on Saturday would not be very different: “Not massively different, no. I think the first three rows from Australia will be fighting for those positions again in KL: I think the usual suspects will be up the front at Sepang.”

However, Webber added that it appears as if qualifying pace and race performance may not go hand-in-hand in these early races. “I think we’ll see a difference between grid position and race finishing order,” said the Australian. “It looks like some people have different qualifying pace to race pace – that was the case at Albert Park anyway, and it could be a bit of a trend for the next few events.”

Mark Webber
Mark ready to do the business

Having been on pole here in 2010, Webber claims the Sepang circuit is a great one for a driver to experience. “Malaysia is very, very hot, so the track temperature is very hard on the tyres, which need to be managed – but it’s a beautiful track to drive on. You really get to feel the sensation of an F1 car, particularly in the middle sector. It’s a great venue and has different demands to what Melbourne does.”

Referring to the race in Melbourne, Webber was adamant that, despite being bested by McLaren, Red Bull took a lot of positives away from the race. “It’s confirmation that a lot of our hard work over the winter has been extremely beneficial. That was particularly apparent on Sunday afternoon. We were strong in the race, a lot stronger than we were on Saturday afternoon in qualifying. And that’s where the points are handed out. Obviously we were beaten by McLaren but in general there were some positives in that and some sections of the race where the car was extremely strong, and we learned a huge amount, so that was great.”

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