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Webber: There's everything to play for

NEWS STORY
02/08/2010

In his 150th grand prix start, Mark Webber won the Hungarian Grand Prix in emphatic style to retake the lead of the World Championship. It was his fourth win of 2010, which is two more than any other driver.

"It feels great to go into the summer break on the back of a win," said Webber after yesterday's race. "I had to drive what was effectively a three-part race because I didn't pit for tyres when the Safety Car came out early on, but the strategy paid off and I won the race pretty easily in the end."

At the start of the race, Webber - predictably - lost traction in all the dust away from the line. Vettel moved further ahead and Alonso, who'd started third, overtook him.

"I immediately got into Fernando's slipstream," says Webber. "I was pretty close to him as we approached Turn 1, but he defended well. This wasn't his first grand prix; he knew what to do to stop me getting through and I had to settle for third place.

"At this stage, my plan was to try and pass Fernando at the pit stops. I knew I could lap much faster than him in clear air, so I was waiting for a couple of traffic-free laps later in the race. As it was, I didn't have to wait that long because debris at Turn 11 brought out the Safety Car on lap 15 and that's when we decided to do something different."

While the rest of the field pitted for tyres during the Safety Car period, Webber stayed out and took the lead. In clean air, the team thought he could open enough of a gap on Alonso that would allow him to emerge from the pits ahead later in the race. Then, when teammate Vettel was then given a drive-through penalty and emerged behind Alonso, Mark's battle for second place suddenly became a battle for the lead.

"For the 25 laps after the Safety Car, I drove nearly every lap like it was a qualifying lap," admits Webber. "I needed a 20s gap to Alonso, so I pushed very hard. There was an element of risk because we hadn't done anything like a 42-lap stint on the option tyre during practice."

By lap 43, Mark was 23s ahead of Alonso and he dived into the pits for his only stop of the race. The mechanics turned his car around quickly and he emerged from the pitlane six seconds ahead of Alonso. The race was won.

"Some people will say I was lucky today," says the Australian, "but I'll take it. I've been in this sport long enough to know that you have to take the rough with the smooth and none of my other victories have been gifted to me.

"It's good to be leading the points standings, but there are still a lot of chapters to come in this world championship battle. The top five drivers are separated by 20 points, which is nothing. It's the equivalent of just eight points under last year's points system.

"There's everything to play for, but not until I've turned my phone off and had a couple of weeks' holiday!"

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