Webber admits battle with Hamilton was 'intense'

With Sebastian Vettel racing away to the win, the excitement in Korea came mainly from an epic battle between McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Mark Webber

The Korean Grand Prix featured one of the most genuinely hard-fought and knife-edge battles seen on track in recent seasons, with two of the leading drivers in two of the top cars on the grid fighting tooth-and-claw over second position for much of the race.

"The battle with Lewis was pretty intense," agreed Red Bull's Mark Webber of the fight that lasted almost two thirds of the 55-lap race distance.

The team had been hoping to pull off the vital overtaking move in the pits, but Hamilton and Webber came in together and McLaren put their man out on track first - meaning that Webber would have to do all the work for himself out on the track.

"I was frustrated that we followed him out of the pit lane," he admitted. "I risked quite a bit to try and pass him on the out lap, before he got settled in."

He couldn't quite pull it off, despite running side-by-side with Hamilton in the initial laps after the pit stop. Despite increasingly struggling with downforce issues, Hamilton seemed able to get traction out of the corners at key points and thwart Webber's best overtaking moves.

"It's not easy to pass a driver of Lewis' calibre," he admitted "I tried some moves and it was a good battle as our cars had weaknesses and strengths in different areas of the lap, so trying to get the move done wasn't particularly easy."

Webber insisted he enjoyed the battle, but would have dearly loved to have taken second place from Hamilton by the end to make it the perfect day for Red Bull Racing. "I would have liked to have got that extra position, which I think performance-wise we deserved," he said. "But McLaren did a good job and Lewis drove well."

Overall, despite the frustration of finishing in third place, he was happy: "There were loads of positives today, it was a good start for me and I got a good result ... I'm sure there will be some headaches tonight," he added, talking about joining in with the team's trademark celebrations for winning their second constructors' title.

His team boss Christian Horner was delighted with Webber's efforts today. "All credit must go to Mark Webber, who tried everything to pass Lewis who in fairness defended very well," he said. "Despite being considerably quicker, we couldn't get into the right place entering the DRS zone to make it a one-two."

Webber's team mate Sebastian Vettel had more success in passing polesitter Lewis Hamilton in the first lap of the race. "I knew overtaking Lewis near the start would be difficult and I nearly went off under braking, but he was very fair and it was important for us to get track position."

It had all looked simple and plain sailing for Vettel from there, but the young German insisted that it had been anything but.

"I wasn't too comfortable to be honest, there was a lot of head wind and it was difficult to get away. I could see the car behind getting bigger in the mirrors and it was tough to break the tow, but we did it," he said. " It was a phenomenal race, we had so much pace and it was so much fun out there."

"Sebastian did everything right," commented Horner. "He had a good start, made a bold move up the inside into turn four and then controlled the race.

"It was a world champion's drive."

Source: Crash.net