Mark Webber believes a podium finish was possible had he not picked up a puncture
"I got a Pirelli puncture from a Pirelli tyre, impressive," says Aussie
By William Esler. Last Updated: 06/10/13 2:50pm
Mark Webber believes he could have challenged for the podium had he not picked up a puncture during the Korean Grand Prix.
The Australian had just rejoined the race after making his second stop when Sergio Perez suffered a tyre failure ahead of him and the resultant debris caused a perforation in the Red Bull driver's medium compound Pirellis, forcing him back into the pits.
Combined with the Safety Car bunching up the field, this dropped Webber down the order, undoing the progress he had made in the first half of the race as he recovered from a ten-place penalty which had relegated him to 13th on the grid.
Webber feels podium was possible
"It destroyed the race," the 37-year-old told Sky Sports F1.
"Before that we were in very good shape and that was on the out lap after we stopped and Perez had a tyre explosion which wasn't nice and I just missed the debris from the tread of the tyre. I think he got the puncture from locking up, but we are locking up because there is no tread on the tyres, so you can't brake deep anyway.
"There is so much pace management going on and all the drivers are looking after their tyres, so I did what I could to get back up to third or fourth and could have had a good fight with Kimi [Raikkonen] towards the end of the race, but I think I picked up a puncture from Perez's debris.
"So I got a Pirelli puncture from a Pirelli tyre, impressive."
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With Webber in the midfield as the race resumed, he was then hit at turn three by Adrian Sutil who lost his Force India under braking and the subsequent contact caused the RB9 to burst into flames.
"I think that the KERS caught fire very quickly as the contact was very high and that got quite heavy quite quickly the fire, so it was good the guys [marshals] weren't too far away," Webber added.
"I would have liked to have got a bit closer to someone with an extinguisher, but I wanted to get out of there myself."
However, for a man that wanted to vacate the car quickly, he did not leave the vicinity as he attempted to prevent too much damage being done to his car with the Japanese GP only a week away.
"I tried to put it out myself as there was an extinguisher in the car," the Australian explained. "So I tried to put it out and I have my overalls on anyway."
Webber's car catches fire
With just five races of his Formula 1 career remaining, Webber tried to remain positive as he looked ahead to the race at Suzuka and is hopeful the hard work on his side of the garage will finally pay off.
"It is not through lack of hard work," he said.
"We just have to keep pushing, the guys on my car have done everything they can. Maybe we can have a beautiful finish to the year - that is all we can look at. You have to stay positive and ultimately I did everything I could today and I feel as if I did a good job."