Date: 1st March 2011 at 9:57am
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Mark Webber believes he can still take the fight to team mate and World champion Sebastian Vettel.

Last season Webber seemingly fell out with his team bosses over a decision to give Vettel a newly developed front wing at the British Grand Prix which had previously been given to Webber. The decision meant that Webber went into the race all fired up and he went on to claim the win, spouting on the team radio for all the World to hear: ?Not bad for a number two driver.?

Reportedly it wasn?t only Webber that was angered by the decision to hand over the front wing to Vettel as during the post race celebration Webber?s mechanics are believed to have removed the ‘old? front wing that Webber had won the race with and waved it at Vettel?s mechanics on the other side of the garage.

The incident is of course completely behind them if you believe the comments that come from the different parties now.

‘You want a good, fair crack at it and if you get caned, so be it,’ Webber told the Times Newspaper . ‘But if you go to play at Wimbledon with flip-flops on and Federer is playing with Nikes, why bother turning up? The wings weren’t worth a huge [advantage] but it was a tough decision for the team. I think, going forward, that we would probably do things differently. It was just another little mistake in the grand scheme of things.’

Webber went on to challenge for the World title and had a 14 point lead going into the final 3 races of the season.

But his personal battle with his team mate Vettel probably lost him the chance to win the title, after the Australian cracked under the pressure in Korea.

His crash in a wet Korea brought his first retirement since before the British Grand Prix that had acted as the catalyst for his championship challenge, and in that moment, his title momentum seemed lost, while it was Alonso who over took him in the standings and not Vettel (who at that point remained 14 points behind him as he also failed to finish), Webber?s chance of the title seemed to have passed him by with that result and the pendulum swung back in Vettel?s favour as the German won the last two races of the season to be crowned champion.

‘I made more mistakes, early in that [Korean] race, than I made for ages. I hadn’t spun or lost control of the car for nearly a year and a half but I had a ‘moment’ in that corner [turn 12] in practice and I got on the white line in the race and crashed. It’s one of Seb’s strengths, early in a race when it’s wet, that he drives the needle to make sure the guys behind can’t see. ?Afterwards you think, ‘Why didn’t I settle for something different? Why didn’t I take it to another day like I had been doing?’ But you feel, ‘Sebastian is one of your rivals and you need to beat him’. And it was probably wrong for the championship but hey…’

This season could of course end up being Mark Webber?s last year with the team. He has only one year remaining on his contract with Red Bull Chief Christian Horner wanting to check that he still has the speed, the motivation, the hunger and commitment to be a title contending driver on a year by year basis.

Something that if it has the same reaction as last season could well fire up Webber this year: ‘I think I’ve still plenty of mongrel in me.’ Webber said when asked if he will fight Vettel for the championship again this season, however there has to be a little nagging feeling that last year was his best chance to win the World championship.

 

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