Webber shrugs off F1 favourite tag

Suzuka: Formula One championship leader Mark Webber offered a word of caution on Thursday to any punters tempted to bet their money on him winning this year`s title.

"I`m not the favourite," the Red Bull driver, joint 7/4 favourite with Ferrari`s Fernando Alonso according to London bookmakers William Hill, assured reporters at the Japanese Grand Prix.

"I think we all are pretty even at the moment," added the Australian. "It can change pretty quickly, in a good way for me and a bad way for me. It`s on a knife-edge but I am very relaxed.

"It`s another race for me, just go out there and do my best," he said of Suzuka. "I will give nothing and leave no change on the table, do the best I can and the points look after themselves."

Webber is 11 points clear of Spaniard Alonso, with four races including Sunday`s remaining. Both men have won four races each so far, although the Spanish double world champion has triumphed in the last two.

McLaren`s 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton is third, 20 points off the pace, with Red Bull`s Sebastian Vettel a point further back and McLaren`s reigning champion Jenson Button fifth but still only 25 off the pace.

"Like I said, it`s just another grand prix this one, another car race," said Webber, just as determined not to tempt fate and to shut out the growing pressure as others were eager to pile it on his shoulders.

"Everybody knows he is the championship leader and he cannot take huge risks," said Sauber`s German driver Nick Heidfeld. "Even if he is a hard fighter, he`s not stupid.

"If there is a chance where he might crash, I think it`s a good idea for him to do nothing stupid. And this actually makes him the favourite for me for the championship because he seems to cope okay with the pressure."

Bureau Report

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