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Mar 25

Webber’s back, but without winning car yet

Angry Vettel calls Karthikeyan a ‘cucumber’

2012-03-24 - Malaysian Grand Prix - Sebastian Vettel 2990052012-03-23 - Malaysian Grand Prix - Mark Webber - 99002After a demoralising 2011, Mark Webber is back. Unfortunately for the Australian, however, the new Red Bull is not yet a McLaren-beater.

Teammate Sebastian Vettel scored back to back titles in the RB8’s two predecessors but in Australia and Malaysia was out-qualified by Webber.

German commentator Christian Danner said Webber’s boost of form is “significant”.

Triple world champion Niki Lauda added on German television RTL that the 35-year-old Australian seems to be dealing better than Vettel with the new generation of Pirelli.

And while behind the McLarens and a Mercedes, and identical in pace to Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus on Saturday, the Adrian Newey-penned car in Webber’s hands in Malaysia is not sluggish.

“Mark is just two tenths from pole position, so we are not hopeless,” Dr Helmut Marko is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

But they’re not winning yet, either.

“I think the race can go a little better for us here,” said Vettel after qualifying sixth on Saturday, “but I think you can see that we don’t have an easy car to drive.

“We are aware of it and we are working hard,” he is quoted by Spain’s Marca newspaper.

Angry Vettel calls Karthikeyan a ‘cucumber’

World champion Sebastian Vettel didn’t just criticise Narain Karthikeyan after their clash in Malaysia — he called the Indian driver a vegetable.

The back-to-back title winner’s points hopes went up in flailing Pirelli rubber towards the end of the rain-affected Sepang race following contact with Karthikeyan’s back-of-the-field HRT.

“He was off the track.  In my view, it was over,” Red Bull driver Vettel, now 17 points behind the championship lead after just two races, said on German RTL television.

“As in real life, there are a few cucumbers on the road,” the German frowned.

“It’s extremely frustrating, because in a chaotic race where I lost the radio right at the beginning, a fourth place would have been satisfactory.”

More broadly, Vettel admits Red Bull has work to do.

Asked about the current pecking order in 2012, he said: “We are somewhere in the middle.

“(Ferrari’s) Fernando (Alonso) did a good race today but the key was to always come into the pits at the right time.

“We have work to do, no doubt,” added Vettel.

source: GMM