Mark Webber wasn’t getting carried away despite a strong showing in Friday practice in Melbourne
by Matthew Clayton
Mark Webber is understated at the best of times, so it came as no surprise that the Australian felt Friday was only a “pretty good” day.
The 34-year-old topped the earlier 90-minute practice session of the day with a standout time of 1min 26.831secs on his 20th and final lap of the session. While he slipped to fifth on the timesheets in second practice, both he and Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel focused on longer runs with the new Pirelli rubber.
Red Bull and Ferrari were expected to be strong after an off-season testing campaign that combined pace and reliability, but Webber felt his team still had “some work to do” ahead of qualifying on Saturday after Jenson Button led a McLaren 1-2 in Friday afternoon practice.
“We had some Melbourne showers at the end of P2 (second practice), which are always pretty tricky around here,” he said.
“But in general it was a pretty good day for us. We’ve still got some work to do - there are some quick guys out there. McLaren look quick, but with Ferrari you can never tell. They always run a bit more fuel on a Friday.”
Webber said he used much of Friday to get accustomed to the new tyres while attempting to work out how they’ll be affected by the use of the adjustable rear wing in Sunday’s race.
“The discrepancy with tyres is going to be the thing in the race,” he said.
“When you’re going to use the wing, you’re going to have staggering in the tyre life. Obviously today the tyre life for everybody was pretty similar. In pit stops (in Sunday’s race), you’ll have a bigger staggering in tyre life, so the rear wing will become more powerful.”