Mark Webber is delighted to have qualified so well for the British Grand Prix this weekend, although he did state that he felt slightly hard-done-by to have lost out to Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel.
The Australian driver finished just 0.009 seconds behind his triple-champion colleague, but Webber did concede that he had little chance of rivalling the Mercedes drivers on Saturday, who locked out the front row.
“We were up against it to get on the front row against the Mercs, they’re on another level as they have been for the last few events,” Webber explained in a team statement.
“It was disappointing to get pipped by Seb there at the end by a hundredth, it was very close. I was happy with the first part of my lap, but I could have done better in the last sector.”
However, Webber believes that Red Bull have found a happy medium between qualifying and race pace, whereas Mercedes are widely expected to struggle to continue their Saturday form tomorrow.
“We have a good balance for qualifying and race pace in terms of where we prioritised things. It should be an interesting race, we can get a good result from there.”
This will be Mark Webber’s final appearance at the British Grand Prix after he confirmed his retirement from F1 at the end of the season earlier this week.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.