Mark Webber has finished his final grand prix in the United States with a podium finish after coming third in today’s race at the Circuit of the Americas ahead of his last outing in Brazil next weekend.
The Australian driver narrowly missed out on pole position yesterday, and he made a poor getaway off the line to drop behind Lotus’ fast-starting Romain Grosjean and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at the beginning of the race. Webber soon caught and passed Hamilton ahead of the first round of stops to move up into third place before coming into the pits.
When Webber did stop, his team produced a world-record stop that saw his team change all four tires in just 1.95 seconds, allowing him to cut the gap to Grosjean in the race for second place. Despite trying and trying, Webber pushed too hard in pursuit of the Frenchman meaning that his tires soon lost grip and he could not catch the Frenchman in the final stages of the race, eventually crossing the line 2.1 seconds behind Grosjean.
The Australian driver has one final chance to win the tenth race of his career next weekend in Brazil in what will be the final grand prix of his career. However, he promised fans on the podium that he would be returning to the Circuit of the Americas next season with Porsche for the US round of the World Endurance Championship as he begins a new life in sportscars.
Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.
The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.
“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.
“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.
“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.
“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”
Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.