Webber’s Consolation Victory

Mark Webber has won the Brazilian Grand Prix, but I doubt very much if it’s a victory he will savour.

Team-mate Sebastian Vettel dominated qualifying and disappeared into the lead at the start of the race. Only a gearbox problem for Vettel gave Webber a chance to challenge for the win.

It was suggested during the race commentary that the gearbox problem may have been fabricated by Red Bull to gift the win to Webber. Given the reliability of the car this season, Webber himself must be wondering the same thing.

Webber’s 2011 has, frankly, been disappointing. He has been totally outclassed by team-mate Vettel and, despite having the fastest car in the field, has finished only 3rd in the championship. Button, Alonso and Hamilton have looked much better than Webber all season, though they’ve been driving cars that are obviously inferior to the Red Bull.

Considering the depth of talent in and on the fringes of Formula 1, Webber’s place in the Red Bull team for 2012 has to be questioned. Torro Rosso drivers Algersuari and Buemi are working towards a Red Bull seat. Behind them, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne are poised to replace them. Red Bull have a strong development programme in place. Why are they hanging onto Webber when he is not delivering?

With that in mind, it seems unlikely that Red Bull would have gifted Webber the win. This is Formula 1. If he’s not good enough to win on the track, they’d be better served to replace him. So it may be simply be Webber’s good luck that he ends the season on a high. Perhaps it will provide him with the extra bit of confidence he needs to start 2012 on the right foot. Though how much confidence can he really get from winning through Vettel’s misfortune?

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