Infotainment Factory: Webber's warning for all-conquering Mercedes

Trending

>

Post Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Webber's warning for all-conquering Mercedes


//

Retired Formula One star Mark Webber has warned it will only take “one little flashpoint” to blow the world championship battle wide open, despite Mercedes’ early dominance.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have recorded four consecutive 1-2 finishes, the first time in history a team has achieved this to start the season. With two wins apiece, the pair are separated by just a single point at the top of the world championship standings.

The pair’s superiority has been a bitter blow to arch-rivals Ferrari, who posted the fastest times in pre-season testing and had been expected to set the pace when the season started in Melbourne in March.

Bottas and Hamilton have existed peacefully since the Finn joined the team in 2017, but Webber warns Ferrari are close enough to capitalise should tensions explode, as is often the case when teammates are battling for the world title.

“It only takes one little flashpoint, one grenade, and there’ll be tension between Lewis and Valtteri,” Webber told Wide World of Sports.

“It doesn’t take much.

“Then it will be on for young and old.”

Webber found himself in the middle of a similar situation in 2010 when he and Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel battled for the title, while Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were involved in a bitter battle for the 2016 championship.

If the title does come down to a straight shoot out between Hamilton and Bottas, Webber noted the significant improvement in Bottas’ performances already this year.

Last season Hamilton won 11 races on the way to the world title, while Bottas didn’t win a single race in the same car.

“Valtteri’s definitely off to a sensational start. The first lap in Azerbaijan was one of the best things we’ve seen from him in a long time, going around the outside of Lewis twice, and that was a key moment in getting the win,” Webber said.

“Lewis has already said he was probably a bit too charitable. Lewis might have a few more gears, but Bottas is driving exceptionally well.

“Long may it continue, we need someone challenging Lewis.”

Lewis Hamilton (44) and Valtteri Bottas

Webber said Mercedes’ four consecutive 1-2 finishes was a sign Toto Wolff’s team are at the top of their game in 2019.

“It’s pretty ominous for the opposition,” Webber told Wide World of Sports.

“They’re just so polished. Even when they’re not quite on top of everything, they still manage to pull the victories out.

“I think that Ferrari will be very disappointed with the start of the year, there’s no question about that. They haven’t hit their straps yet at all, and Mercedes just grind everyone into the dust.

“They just get it right, in terms of tactics, what tyres to run, all the key decisions at the important moments, Mercedes get it right. It’s so impressive.

“But Seb and Charles Leclerc are in there with a chance, which is why it’s amazing Mercedes have scored the 1-2s that they have.”

While Ferrari have managed third place in the last three races, twice with Vettel and once with  Leclerc, the team missed an almost certain win when Leclerc had mechanical issues in Bahrain, while his crash in qualifying in Azerbaijan cost him dearly, after he’d set the pace up to the time of the accident.

The fact that Ferrari find themselves behind Mercedes at this point of the season doesn’t bode well for the Italian team, with Webber highlighting what he says is one of Mercedes’ biggest strengths.

Sebastian Vettel finished third in Baku.

“I think we were hoping that Ferrari could carry that winter form into the early part of the season, because they really needed to do that,” Webber said.

“When it comes to developing a car, Mercedes are very good, so as the season goes on, that’s my biggest concern for Ferrari.

“Mercedes have traditionally been better at understanding and developing and progressing the car as the season goes on. That’s going to be tricky for Ferrari.”

Ferrari’s speed has been inconsistent during the four races to date, with the car mysteriously off the pace in Melbourne, before Leclerc blew everyone away in Bahrain until the power unit let him down. After struggling again in China, the 21-year-old was again at the front of the field before his qualifying crash in Azerbaijan.

“The car has been too sensitive to set up. That’s something that’s challenging for them at the moment,” Webber said.

“Obviously they lost a guaranteed victory with Leclerc in Bahrain, so there’s been reliability issues as well.

“When you’re under pressure, and the other team is putting the blowtorch on you, you start to make strategy errors, and probably they have lost a bit there as well.

Charles Leclerc has quickly established himself as a rival for Sebastian Vetel at Ferrari.

“Ferrari are just not having clean weekends. Mercedes are really showing them how to put the jigsaw together, from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. Mercedes are world class at that, a step ahead of everyone.”

Leclerc’s arrival at Ferrari has put the pressure squarely on Sebastian Vettel, with question raised about team orders that favour the four-time world champion, despite his younger team-mate seemingly having just as much pace.

But Webber says concerns over team orders should be the last thing Ferrari concern themselves with.

“I think that Ferrari have got bigger issues than that right now. It’s definitely sensational to see young drivers like Leclerc come in, it’s exactly what the sport needs,” he said.

“I think we need more in the middle pack as well, there’s a few journeymen we could get rid of as well!

“But Ferrari aren’t even winning races yet, they can’t be worried about who’s going to be performing at the highest level within the team. They’ve got to focus on making the fastest car, and then worry about their drivers.

“Right now they don’t even have the fastest car.”

Retired Formula One star Mark Webber has warned it will only take “one little flashpoint” to blow the world championship battle wide open, despite Mercedes’ early dominance.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have recorded four consecutive 1-2 finishes, the first time in history a team has achieved this to start the season. With two wins apiece, the pair are separated by just a single point at the top of the world championship standings.

The pair’s superiority has been a bitter blow to arch-rivals Ferrari, who posted the fastest times in pre-season testing and had been expected to set the pace when the season started in Melbourne in March.

Bottas and Hamilton have existed peacefully since the Finn joined the team in 2017, but Webber warns Ferrari are close enough to capitalise should tensions explode, as is often the case when teammates are battling for the world title.

“It only takes one little flashpoint, one grenade, and there’ll be tension between Lewis and Valtteri,” Webber told Wide World of Sports.

“It doesn’t take much.

“Then it will be on for young and old.”

Webber found himself in the middle of a similar situation in 2010 when he and Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel battled for the title, while Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were involved in a bitter battle for the 2016 championship.

If the title does come down to a straight shoot out between Hamilton and Bottas, Webber noted the significant improvement in Bottas’ performances already this year.

Last season Hamilton won 11 races on the way to the world title, while Bottas didn’t win a single race in the same car.

“Valtteri’s definitely off to a sensational start. The first lap in Azerbaijan was one of the best things we’ve seen from him in a long time, going around the outside of Lewis twice, and that was a key moment in getting the win,” Webber said.

“Lewis has already said he was probably a bit too charitable. Lewis might have a few more gears, but Bottas is driving exceptionally well.

“Long may it continue, we need someone challenging Lewis.”

Lewis Hamilton (44) and Valtteri Bottas

Webber said Mercedes’ four consecutive 1-2 finishes was a sign Toto Wolff’s team are at the top of their game in 2019.

“It’s pretty ominous for the opposition,” Webber told Wide World of Sports.

“They’re just so polished. Even when they’re not quite on top of everything, they still manage to pull the victories out.

“I think that Ferrari will be very disappointed with the start of the year, there’s no question about that. They haven’t hit their straps yet at all, and Mercedes just grind everyone into the dust.

“They just get it right, in terms of tactics, what tyres to run, all the key decisions at the important moments, Mercedes get it right. It’s so impressive.

“But Seb and Charles Leclerc are in there with a chance, which is why it’s amazing Mercedes have scored the 1-2s that they have.”

While Ferrari have managed third place in the last three races, twice with Vettel and once with  Leclerc, the team missed an almost certain win when Leclerc had mechanical issues in Bahrain, while his crash in qualifying in Azerbaijan cost him dearly, after he’d set the pace up to the time of the accident.

The fact that Ferrari find themselves behind Mercedes at this point of the season doesn’t bode well for the Italian team, with Webber highlighting what he says is one of Mercedes’ biggest strengths.

Sebastian Vettel finished third in Baku.

“I think we were hoping that Ferrari could carry that winter form into the early part of the season, because they really needed to do that,” Webber said.

“When it comes to developing a car, Mercedes are very good, so as the season goes on, that’s my biggest concern for Ferrari.

“Mercedes have traditionally been better at understanding and developing and progressing the car as the season goes on. That’s going to be tricky for Ferrari.”

Ferrari’s speed has been inconsistent during the four races to date, with the car mysteriously off the pace in Melbourne, before Leclerc blew everyone away in Bahrain until the power unit let him down. After struggling again in China, the 21-year-old was again at the front of the field before his qualifying crash in Azerbaijan.

“The car has been too sensitive to set up. That’s something that’s challenging for them at the moment,” Webber said.

“Obviously they lost a guaranteed victory with Leclerc in Bahrain, so there’s been reliability issues as well.

“When you’re under pressure, and the other team is putting the blowtorch on you, you start to make strategy errors, and probably they have lost a bit there as well.

Charles Leclerc has quickly established himself as a rival for Sebastian Vetel at Ferrari.

“Ferrari are just not having clean weekends. Mercedes are really showing them how to put the jigsaw together, from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. Mercedes are world class at that, a step ahead of everyone.”

Leclerc’s arrival at Ferrari has put the pressure squarely on Sebastian Vettel, with question raised about team orders that favour the four-time world champion, despite his younger team-mate seemingly having just as much pace.

But Webber says concerns over team orders should be the last thing Ferrari concern themselves with.

“I think that Ferrari have got bigger issues than that right now. It’s definitely sensational to see young drivers like Leclerc come in, it’s exactly what the sport needs,” he said.

“I think we need more in the middle pack as well, there’s a few journeymen we could get rid of as well!

“But Ferrari aren’t even winning races yet, they can’t be worried about who’s going to be performing at the highest level within the team. They’ve got to focus on making the fastest car, and then worry about their drivers.

“Right now they don’t even have the fastest car.”

http://bit.ly/2WkIpES
//

No comments:

Post a Comment