Mark Webber believes Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel was a class apart in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and that his own poor start did not cost him victory.
Webber beat Vettel to pole position at Yas Marina, but made one of the mediocre getaways that have blighted his 2013 campaign. While the Australian dropped to third, Vettel took an immediate lead and dominated.
Webber was able to repass Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes on lap 20, but Vettel went on to win by half a minute.
“I don’t think the start was decisive,” Webber insisted. “Seb was in another category today.
“I got the maximum result possible. He was quick and very, very strong.
“I was very slow in the first stint, very, very poor at dealing with the rear, and that makes it [the tire degradation] even worse.
“It was a case of regrouping at the stops after that and our pace wasn’t too bad after that, but the race was gone. In the end we’re probably sitting here with the results we all deserved.”
The second place moved Webber closer to Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton in the battle for third in the 2013 drivers’ championship. With two races of his Formula 1 career to go, he is nine points behind Hamilton and 17 adrift of Raikkonen.