Monaco GP winner Mark Webber says that suggestions he was playing team tactical games in Sunday’s Grand Prix, backing the pack up to give team mate Sebastian Vettel a chance to get a podium are wide of the mark.
The Aussie’s pace on new soft tyres in the period around laps 31-35, after he and the leading trio had pitted, was slow. And this led to speculation that he was deliberately backing Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa up, to give Vettel, who stayed out another soft tyres to build enough of a lead to jump them at his stop on lap 45.
Vettel gained about 7 seconds through this period and was able to jump Massa and Hamilton, but on lap 38 Webber had begun picking up the pace and so there was no question of Vettel getting a podium.
Problems warming up the new soft tyres were blamed on this dip in pace at a crucial time, but some rival teams and commentators are convinced Webber was doing a job for Vettel.
Webber strenously denies it in his BBC Sport Online Column today,
“(It) is absolute rubbish. You just cannot be that fancy around Monaco, ” Webber writes. “Ultimately, Seb ran out of tyres and he had to pit because the rest of us started to go quicker, but if they’d kept going he would have been pushing for the win.
“If we had been trying anything on, I could have been even cuter. I cleared Seb by quite a lot. If I’d wanted to slide him in among other people, I could have slowed down and it would have been even better for the team. But it just wasn’t part of the plan.
“The problem with trying to do that would be that you’re exposing yourself to even more pressure from the guys behind – Nico and Fernando in this case. And then the boys in the pits might mess up Seb’s stop and it would all be for nothing.
“You always get bitten on the bum when you get fancy. So you just don’t try.”
To get the latest F1 news and reaction to Monaco GP click HERE
For the full Webber column read HERE