x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Webber believes teammate is still in contention

Mark Webber is not expecting help from his Red Bull-Renault team bosses despite leapfrogging teammate Sebastian Vettel in the championship standings.

The Australian driver Mark Webber finished third at the Hungarian GP.
The Australian driver Mark Webber finished third at the Hungarian GP.

Mark Webber is not expecting help from his Red Bull-Renault team bosses despite leapfrogging teammate Sebastian Vettel in the championship standings with third place at yesterday's Hungarian Grand Prix. While Vettel was forced to retire with suspension damage on lap 30 after being hit by Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari, Webber's third place saw him move past the German and up to second in the championship, 18½points behind leader Jenson Button with seven races left of the season.

"I think it is still a bit early," he said when asked if he expected to be favoured by Red Bull at the expense of Vettel. "We can still fight the Brawns together, Sebastian and I. It's been a bit of a blip for them in the last few races and we hope it continues and we can take some points out of them. "Seb had a poor weekend and lost some points, but he will back and after the break and we can recharge."

Webber was content with third after being beaten by Lewis Hamilton's McLaren-Mercedes and Raikkonen, as the result saw him claw back four points from Button's title advantage. He added: "I'm happy to get the result we did. I could have had a better chance to fight Kimi and do different tyres, but that was my call, but overall we still have lot of positives. "We are still up here, we can take our car to a lot of venues and fight and we are still very much a force."

A disappointed Vettel said: "I made contact in first corner with Kimi. I was on the inside, had a clean run to accelerate and then his car came sideways and yeah, we touched. "It can happen, but in the end I mean it was the reason why the first pit-stop already was bad. And then at some point the front left suspension gave up and we had to retire the car." The Red Bulls pulled back four more points in the constructors' championship to close to 15½ points of Brawn GP as they picked up only two points for Button's seventh place.

A disappointed Button said: My rear tyres grained massively in the first few laps which took away any chance that I had of keeping pace with the front-runners. "It's disappointing as we had high hopes for this race but we were fortunate to come away with two points." Raikkonen said he was happy to have given Ferrari a boost with second place, but acknowledged his and the team's thoughts were with teammate Felipe Massa following his accident in qualifying that had led to the Brazilian undergoing surgery on a skull fracture and a brain concussion after he was struck in the helmet by a loose spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn.

"It's not an easy weekend for team but we got a good result so hopefully we can keep going like this," the Finn said. "It's positive for the team. "What happened was really unfortunate but luckily enough he's more or less OK. He's probably going to be 100 per cent fine in a little time. We in the team all hope that he's going to be fine and come back soon. This is a part of racing and we all know that. It's just a sad thing to happen."

gcaygill@thenational.ae