Webber taking positives to hot Sepang
Sydney: Australia`s Mark Webber is not much closer to understanding why his Red Bull was slower than team mate Sebastian Vettel`s at the Australian Grand Prix but is still drawing some positives from the season opener.
The 34-year-old came into the season with high hopes after finishing third in the championship last year but had a disappointing weekend at Albert Park as world champion Vettel claimed a pole to chequered flag victory.
Webber, who admitted his frustration at finishing fifth, said the post-race briefing with his engineers had gone on much longer than usual but the telemetry had not proved conclusive.
"We found a few pointers in the data but we`ll need to strip the car down before drawing any conclusions," he wrote in his column.
"Only then will we know whether something was broken, or whether there was something fundamentally wrong with the car."
"More than anything, I struggled with a lack of grip. That affected the longevity of my Pirelli tyres because the degradation was much higher on my car than on Seb`s."
Webber made three stops and he said he was "blown away" when he heard Sauber`s Mexican rookie Sergio Perez had managed just one on the new tyres, which were designed to degrade more quickly.
"That was very impressive and it proved that the durability of the tyre was there, if you could unleash it," wrote Webber.
Webber`s relationship with Vettel, and sometimes his team, was strained last year by the Australian`s perception he was being treated like a second driver and he famously made his feelings clear on the team radio after winning the British Grand Prix.
The second race of the season takes place at Sepang this weekend and Webber said Vettel`s clear superiority over the field in Australia was also a positive for him heading to Malaysia.
"Seb`s pace proved that Red Bull Racing have built another great car this season and we both had impeccable reliability," he wrote.
The tyres proved less of a factor in Australia than many thought they would but Webber thinks Malaysia could be a whole different ball game.
"The heat and humidity will push tyre temperatures into uncharted territory," he added.
"All of the winter testing in Europe was done in cool conditions and although Melbourne was hotter, it was nothing like the conditions we`re expecting in Malaysia.”
"It`s going to be very interesting."