Webber says sorry to Hamilton

Mark Webber apologised to McLaren-Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton at the end of an eventful home race for the Red Bull Racing star that saw him twice come into contact with the former F1 World Champion, endure a couple of costly off-track moments and ultimately take the chequered flag in a frustrated and bloodied if unbowed ninth place.

Having qualified alongside team-mate Sebastian Vettel on the front row of the starting grid for the Australian GP in Melbourne – where he has never finished on the podium, though he did stand up there following his superb fifth-placed debut with Minardi back in 2002 – Webber was looking in fine shape for a strong showing around Albert Park on race day, but right from the offset it became apparent that it might not be his day.

A tardy getaway when the lights went out allowed Felipe Massa and – albeit briefly – Robert Kubica in the Renault to get past him, and having regained second place, the 33-year-old just as quickly lost it again when Red Bull left him out too long before pitting for slick tyres once the track began to dry out. Down in sixth, he grittily re-passed Massa for fifth but then as he tried to stave off the attentions of Hamilton, the man from Queanbeyan ran out of road and off the circuit at Turn Three, costing him almost ten seconds and sending him tumbling down the order once again.

Fired-up and with the red mist in full descent, following a pit-stop for some new rubber, Webber set about following Hamilton as the delayed duo made their way back up the order, and with a handful of laps remaining the pair’s storming pace had carried them right onto the back of the battle over the runner-up spot between Kubica, Massa and the second Ferrari of double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso.

Unfortunately, in front of a record 120,000 partisan fans, the New South Wales native’s challenge would end in tears, as he got too close to Hamilton under braking and clattered into his adversary with just two laps to go. Requiring another quick pit visit for a new front wing, the loss of time left Webber a lowly ninth – albeit having done much to re-inject the entertainment factor back into F1.

“My start was tricky with quite a bit of wheelspin,” he said, “and I was very happy to get away with third place with just Felipe and Seb in front of me. Then, after the safety car re-start the race was going well, I passed Felipe and I was just waiting for some information on how it would go on the grooves. I wanted to get in on the lap that Sebastian pitted to change to dry tyres, but obviously whoever’s ahead has the call so I had to do an extra lap on the intermediates, which certainly hurt me and lost me a lot of time. We snookered ourselves a little bit there.

“Once I was back on the track I couldn’t get second gear coming out of the pit-lane. I was stuck in first, with the other guys going past on the track at 300km/h [186mph]. That was really unusual and we need to have a look at it. Then we had a good fight; I knew I had to make the moves on track, but it was very difficult to get the moves done on the inside because it was still a bit greasy.

“At the end of the race we caught the leading guys and I was looking forward to the last part; I thought it would be a big fight. We both got a run on Fernando. I apologise to Lewis; I was looking to get the run as well coming back out [of the corner], but when I got that close my front wing basically just did not work, I lost all downforce and I couldn’t get the car stopped. I just locked up, the car lifted and I slid into the back of him. I tried to get more on the inside to make it wheel-to-wheel, but in the end obviously I hit him with my front wing on his rear tyre. That’s car racing!

“Unfortunately it had looked like a good finish, but it’s still very difficult to follow in these cars. I wasn’t happy with sixth place and wanted to get a podium. In the end it was a tough day for the team, but I went down fighting. When you’re on the back foot as we were for different reasons, I think it’s best to throw caution to the wind and get into it. I was thinking after Bahrain, for the people at home maybe we should do something different. I didn’t want it to finish like that, but hopefully it was a bit more enjoyable – and we’ll be back.”

Webber’s disappointment was shared by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who acknowledged that much more than just two points had been promised from a grand prix that on paper the Milton Keynes-based squad should have dominated.

“In his home grand prix, Mark dropped a place at the start, but then was making progress in the damp and tricky conditions,” the Englishman affirmed. “We had to leave him a lap longer than Sebastian to change to dry tyres, as he would have lost too much ground pitting immediately behind him. As the circuit went from intermediates to slicks, he made a couple of good passing moves on Massa, but then, unfortunately, he obviously got tangled up with Lewis for the first time in the race.

“After everything had settled down and with the position he was running in, we decided we had nothing to lose by putting another set of tyres on to let him have a go in the last ten laps, which [Nico] Rosberg and Hamilton also elected to do. We got Rosberg at the stop but Lewis and Mark got together again, which resulted in Mark having to pit again for a nose change. Ninth place after starting the race with two cars at the front of the grid is massively disappointing.”

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At least it was an interesting race this time…

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What was Webber thinking seriously. If that hadnt happened then Hamilton might have gotton past alonso, which is was trying to do at the time, and with 4th place he wouldnt have been so angry at the tyre change.

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Hamilton was not going to get past Alonso as he would of been massively out of shape after that corner had he not been hit and he simply couldn’t get close enough due to the downforce, what a race though

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i dont think LH woulda got past FA.. if they did battle, i think webber would have gotten around both of them..

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@McLaren Fan, I don’t think Webber really cared about Hamilton’s position. He was obviously looking to take advantage of Hamilton going wide, and it didn’t pay off.

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After Lewis’s angry radio call, I knew it was a matter of time before he went off in one fashion or other. I thought his attack on Alonso was out of frustration and he probably could have held back at that point. While getting hit by Webber was not exactly Lewis’s fault, he sort of got himself in a situation where he could get stuffed.

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oh here we go with the Might-have-beens…

Lewis was already distracted and panicking moaning at the team about bringing him in for another stop. It is doubtful he would have gotten past Alonso as he had already tried quite a few times.

I think while Webber did screw up, he went the right way about things after, explaining himself and apologising PUBLICLY, and doing so sounding extremely sincere….

Let’s compare that to Lewis apologising in the past shall we? Eeven as recent as Friday night… or did he even apologise for running into Kimi in Canada 08? (I remember a lot of excuses about the team not telling him what was right infront of his eyes) He didn’t even seem sincere in the way he congratulated Button, blatently only doing so because he was on camera.

In summary, Webber handled things respectfully and admitted being in the wrong, even though he effed up, I respect him a little more for that.

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Pah! he’s an idiot of he thinks we belive that. He crashed into Hamilton deliberatley, he intended to cause harm to Lewis’ chances!

shame on you webber.

Don’t hate me for saying what everyone else is thinking…

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Would a driver really crash into another car at that speed at his home GP? Don’t think so.

Was very dissapointed though, Hamilton is a fantastic driver to watch and the last laps were really shaping up to be interesting but there we go…

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J4KE H4M, you obviously don’t understand the first thing about modern F1 racing: Hitting another car means you’re probably going to break your own as well. Webber isn’t silly, particularly -that- silly.

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J4KE H4M is obviously an idiot.

I’m pretty sure if Webber hung on and didnt crash into Hammo he would have gotten past in either that corner or the next.

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Hamilton and Webber caught up to Alonso very quickly, but Lewis clearly could not get past even after a number of laps. I doubt he was going to get past. Alonso was putting his Ferrari in the right spots every time. Lewis kept pressuring in the hope he could force an error as that appeared all he could do.

Sure enough, Alonso locked his brakes up at the end of the back straight. Lewis avoided Alonso as he skidded past the apex, but Webber was following Lewis closely to take advantage of the impending overtake by Hamilton (same as Lewis took advantage of Webber overtaking Massa earlier in the race).

Unfortunately, with Alonso locking up his brakes, Hamilton had to adjust his line into the turn. This in turn gave Webber no chance to stop quick enough, and he hit Lewis from behind. If Lewis did not have to avoid Alonso’s understeering Ferrari, Webber and Hamilton would have shot past and been wheel to wheel, with a great fight for position going into the next turn or onto the front straight.

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In all fairness to Mark it really was as simple as just being a race incident. He wasn’t expecting Hamilton or Alonso to break so early and he was caught out. His front wing stalled the closer he got so therefore no front end grip and, WHAM!!

Lewis wouldn’t have got past Fernando because Alonso had track position (inside line) so Hamilton would have been off-line on the exit….but lets not get into that because it never happened.

Also for anybody who might be so fast to criticise Marky, don’t forget that slow speed pit-lane collision that Lewis had with Kimi in Montreal.

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^ I don’t think Kimi cared to be honest :)

Webber was just trying too hard all day, he lost his smoothness and just looked ragged at times.

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^ At least he didn’t blame the team! ;P

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Remember hamilton ran into the back of alonso’s renulalt i think in 2008 and lost his front wing. Can’t remember where. I do remember people saying it was alonso fault for not accelerating. Accidents will and do happen. Remember Hamilton cliped his front wing earlier in the race off one of the ferraris while overtaking on the straight. I don’t think Ham would have got by Alonso. He couldn’t get by Kubica earlier.

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It was at Bahrain, and to be honest, without any ‘Lewis bashing’ involved, Hamilton could have very easily avoided the slower Renault in front by jinking the car to the right. I think there was a fracas between two cars in front of Fernando and he had to back off the throttle. But in any case what happened, happened not much we can do about it now anyway. That was my point, nobody is perfect so I can’t see why everybody is making a big deal out of Marks collision with Lewis in Oz.

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Sorry that was the start of the race I was thinking of. At the start Lewis’ anti-stall kicked in which meant that Alonso got the jump on him. In Turn One Lewis clipped Alonso’s car and damaged the top section of wing that went over the nose of his car. Then during the course of Hamilton’s lap the top section broke off and in Turn 3 or exiting turn 4 Lewis understeered while trying to get out of Alonso’s slipstream and that’s when they made contact.

I’m not ‘Lewis bashing’, he is a guy who knows how to race. That’s just what happened.

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yeah Also remember Canada where Lewis ran into a stopped car at a red light….

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^^ As mentioned by myself in comment #13.

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