x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Mark Webber's woes with Kers go on

The curse of the Kers strikes again as Mark Webber's starts 18th for this afternoon's Chinese Grand Prix.

Mark Webber endured a disastrous day in Shanghai yesterday as he qualified only 18th for today’s race in China.
Mark Webber endured a disastrous day in Shanghai yesterday as he qualified only 18th for today’s race in China.

SHANGHAI // The curse of the Kers struck again as Mark Webber's woes continued yesterday during qualifying for this afternoon's Chinese Grand Prix.

The Australian was forced to run without Kers (the Kinetic Energy Recovery System) at the season-opening race in Melbourne and then, two weeks later in Malaysia, the acceleration-enhancing device experienced a glitch leaving him trailing even before the first turn.

At the Shanghai International Circuit yesterday, a Kers failure meant he managed just one lap in the morning's practice session and, in the afternoon's qualifying, a wrong tyre choice resulted in him becoming the first Red Bull Racing driver to fail to negotiate the first part of qualifying since Sebastian Vettel at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sau Paulo 18 months ago.

"We were a little bit on the back foot and just got the car together minutes before qualifying," he said.

"We threw it together and went out. My first run was probably half a second shy of where it needed to be."

Webber added that the decision to complete his flying lap on hard tyres rather than the softer, faster rubber was down to the team. "We snookered ourselves really," he said.

In a quirk of coincidence, Webber's early elimination means he will start from 18th on the grid, while teammate Vettel claimed his 18th pole position of his career.

If he was looking for consolation, he could take it from the fact that, should Bahrain be reinstated on to the F1 calendar, today's race will mark only the first of 18 in which his luck may improve this season.

"It happens in sport. You come back again tomorrow and give it another crack," Webber said. "I have had a hell of a lot of good days in the past few years.

"At the moment I am not getting the rub of the green, but that is also down to preparation and decisions.

"You cannot just make a shopping list of excuses. We also have to look inside and work harder."

Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, said Webber had endured a "rotten day", but said that analysis would go on throughout the night to help solve the Kers issue in time for today's race.

Webber added: "We've had a pretty solid day in terms of the car putting up a fight, but the team have worked like hell; they have done what they can and that is the way it goes sometimes. There are a lot more people in life a lot worse than me, so I am not beating myself up too much."