Mark Webber has said that he is not sure that Red Bull’s decision to put him on a three-stop strategy was the right call as the pole-sitter failed to put up a challenge to race winner Sebastian Vettel on Sunday in Japan.
Webber lost the lead at the first corner to Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, staying in second place until his early pit stop in an attempt to exercise the undercut. Although this did work, the early stop put Webber onto a three stop strategy that meant he could not catch two-stopping Vettel in the final few laps.
“We were on the back foot a bit after Romain’s great start,” Webber said. “I wanted to put pressure on him for the win. Sebastian was on a different strategy to me and in the end it worked out pretty similar. It’s hard to know which was right [two or three stops] as we were trying to cover off Romain. I did my best and in the end it was a good result.”
The Australian driver came out of the pits in third place after his final stop, but he managed to pass Grosjean thanks to his fresher set of option tires during the final stint. However, the time spent behind the Lotus driver allowed Vettel to pull away at the front and go on to win the race by seven seconds.
Having missed out on victory in Japan, Webber will be keen on picking up one last win in his final four races ahead of his retirement at the end of the season.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.