Mark had a frustrating race weekend in Germany, which culminated in sixth place. For the first time since the season-opener in Bahrain, he qualified off the front row of the grid and an oil consumption problem hampered his progress in the race.
“When the team told me about the oil problem just after half distance,” says Mark, “my only concern was getting to the end of the race. I immediately began to nurse the car by changing my downshift patterns and not using the F-duct, and that meant I could no longer challenge Jenson [Button] ahead of me.
“It was a disappointing end to a frustrating weekend, but when you think I could easily have retired from this race, it was good just to see the finish line and collect another six points.”
Until half distance in the 67-lap race, Mark’s pace had been strong. He made a good start from fourth, which was on the dirty side of the grid, and he battled hard with Lewis Hamilton during the early laps.
“I got away okay and managed to hold my position,” says Mark. “But I was more worried about the run to Turn 6 on the opening lap than I was the first corner because the McLarens had a considerable straight-line speed advantage.”
Mark’s concerns were well placed because Hamilton, who’d started two places behind him on the grid, swept past him on the long run to the hairpin.
“I had a good scrap with Lewis during the early laps,” he says. “He didn’t look too comfortable on the option tyre, but I couldn’t find a way through because he was so fast in a straight line. I tried to get the jump on him at the pitstops, thinking he’d stop with me on lap 13. The guys did a fantastic pitstop for me, but the combination of Lewis staying out a lap longer and me coming out in traffic was enough to get him ahead of me.”
Jenson Button in the other McLaren stayed out until lap 22 before making his stop, which was enough to get him ahead of Mark as well. By the time the leaders had all made their pitstops, Mark was in sixth place and that’s where he remained until the end.
“I wasn’t in the fight today,” says Mark, “but I’ll be back. It’s very competitive at the front, which is how it should be in Formula One. Ferrari had the quickest car at Hockenheim; they demonstrated that by coming home first and second. They’re very much back in the hunt for the world title, which should make things pretty interesting going forward.
“But the RB6 was quick too and I haven’t got to wait long to set the record straight because we’re racing at the Hungaroring this weekend. I finished third there last year and I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”
Mark Webber is the Team Principal of MW Arden, a three car team in the new GP3 series supporting European Grands Prix.