Mark endured a frustrating Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. He started the race from fourth place on the grid, but came home seventh after driving a two-stop strategy.
“I knew it was going to be a mixed up race,” says Mark, “but I didn’t expect it to be that mixed up! I got away well at the start, but had a small issue with the engine in the early laps, which we had to manage. Once that had settled down I was able to settle into the pace and find some consistency.”
The timing of Mark’s first pitstop dictated the remainder of his race. He came in for new tyres on lap 17 and exited the pits behind the one-stopping Sergio Perez, which is where he remained until Perez made his only pitstop of the race on lap 41. By then, any chance of a podium for Mark was over.
“With hindsight we could have done a different strategy,” says Mark. “But it’s easy to say that after the race; we did what we thought was right at the time. It’s proving to be a very mixed up championship, which is why we’ve had seven different winners from the opening seven races.
“I’ve had many worse days than this, and I won the last race in Monaco from pole position, so we’ve proved that we have the pace when we have a clean weekend. We’ll learn from what happened here and we’ll come back stronger in Valencia.”
In clear air Mark’s RB8 was still fast in Montreal. On lap 30, when Perez had eeked out a small advantage, he set the fastest lap of the race at that time. But the car’s relative lack of straight-line speed still hampered his progress through the backmarkers.
“We were quick around the lap, but pretty slow on the straights,” says Mark. “That made it pretty hard at times, and I lost a lot of time behind Bruno Senna in particular. It’s important that everyone respects the blue flags.”
As a result of Lewis Hamilton’s victory in Canada, things have tightened up in the championship standings. Mark lies fourth, just nine points behind Hamilton, who is the new leader.
“It’s so tight at the front that it’s hard to see anyone gaining a significant advantage in the foreseeable future,” says Mark. “It’s important to collect points from every race, which is why it was important to salvage some points in today’s race.”
Before leaving the Montreal paddock, Mark made onlookers laugh when he jumped into the rowing lake behind the F1 paddock. And cool off he might: cockpit temperatures today were in the mid-40s…
Roll on the baking heat of Valencia in two weeks time.
Mark Webber is the Team Principal of MW Arden, a three car team in the new GP3 series supporting European Grands Prix.