Mark Webber launched a scathing attack on tyre manufacturers Pirelli after seeing his best laid plans go pop at the Korean Grand Prix on Sunday.
It was another case of ‘so near yet so far’ for the Aston Clinton race ace as he suffered a puncture – one of several on the day – and then engine fire.
After his last lap retirement in Singapore a couple of weeks ago, which saw him enter this race with a 10-place grid penalty for hitching a lift back to the pits with Fernando Alonso – Webber was looking good for a podium finish at the Korean International Circuit.
In the end he was taken out by Adrian Sutil but he was keen to absolve his fellow racer of blame, preferring instead to direct his anger at Pirelli.
He said: “I was turning into Turn 3 when he t-boned me and the impact cut an oil line, which caused a loss of oil pressure in the engine. That’s why I stopped the car and the subsequent oil fire caused a lot of damage.
“I tried to get the marshals over as soon as possible, but it was burning for a long time.
“I hope it hasn’t damaged the chassis, but we’ll only know that when we get to have a proper look at the car.
“The car felt good all weekend. My pace was compromised in qualifying, but I had a good race car.
“I always enjoy dicing with Fernando, but it was difficult to do too much proper racing due to the tyres.
“You really needed to be careful, particularly with the front right.
“It all started to go wrong when (Sergio) Perez had his tyre failure. I’d just pitted for the second time and I couldn’t avoid the debris because I was right behind him. I got a puncture and had to pit again the following lap, which sent me back down the order.”
Such was Mark’s pace that he was still in a good position to pick up a lot of points – until, that is, he came to turn into Turn 3 on lap 37 and he was rammed by Sutil.
“He came to see me after the race to apologise, saying he made a mistake, and you have to accept that.
“But the most disappointing aspect of this race was another Pirelli tyre failure.
“I was very lucky not to hit the tread of the tyre that came away from Perez’s car, but I didn’t have time to steer around the debris.”