For immediate release
September 27, 2003
After performing so strongly throughout practice and Friday’s provisional qualifying session, Mark Webber was disappointed not to be able to repeat the same form in Saturday’s qualifying for today’s 73-lap US Grand Prix.
Webber was seventh fastest in Friday’s official practice session after setting a time of 1min 11.794s and followed this up with a flying lap in qualifying to set the third fastest time of 1min 10.081s, behind only Renault’s Jarno Trulli and Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello.
The Jaguar Racing driver continued to impress in Saturday’s practice sessions, setting the ninth fastest time in the opening session with a 1min 13.573s, and then going one place better in the final session when he set a best time of 1min 11.800s, a time which included the fastest overall middle sector time.
However, a general improvement in the weather conditions combined with a rise in temperature as qualifying got underway, saw Webber (who ran third last in the session) struggle with a lack of grip throughout his lap and slump to 14th fastest with a time of 1min 13.269s, 2/10ths of a second slower than the time he posted in qualifying warm-up an hour earlier, such was the rapid temperature change.
“Up until our main qualifying session, we were travelling pretty well,” he explained afterwards.
“The circuit has been changing quite a lot with the weather and is very weather sensitive. For qualifying on Saturday, the track was the hottest it’s been all weekend which wasn’t hard given how cold it’s been all week. I had the biggest balance shift I’ve had all year going into that all-important lap which was a shame for both the team and myself. But, you can’t win them all – we’ve had a good run with qualifying and judging the conditions correctly, but unfortunately we missed out yesterday. If it’s a cool race today though in terms of temperature, I’m optimistic we can still have a good showing.”
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Mark Webber is the Team Principal of MW Arden, a three car team in the new GP3 series supporting European Grands Prix.