Mark Webber conceded that the world championship fight was all but over after he crashed out of the Italian Grand Prix and his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel notched up his eighth win of the year.
Despite having not won a race so far in 2011, Webber was second in the standings heading to Monza – 92 points adrift of Vettel. Today’s results leave him fourth, 117 points down, and part of a four-way battle for second in the championship in which Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Webber and Lewis Hamilton are covered by just 14 points.
“I think we’re all battling for second now,” Webber told television reporters.
“I think Seb needs to have a very, very incredibly disappointing finish to the season for anyone to take the championship off him at this point.
“He’s in a great position. He’s done a great job. And clearly the car was good today, so it was a missed opportunity for me.”
Webber’s accident came after he collided with Felipe Massa while trying to overtake the Ferrari for fifth early in the race. The Red Bull’s damaged front wing then folded under the car and caused it to plough straight on at the Parabolica.
“I got a good run down the straight, braking down the outside and then obviously trying to go around the outside,” Webber explained.
“Felipe started to come across and then I thought ‘okay, maybe I need to get out of here’. I didn’t know if he was going to come that far across and that’s what I had to work out when we got there.
“I started to bail out of the move but those kerbs are so high on the inside that if you clip the inside it just launches the car and I think I made contact with him.
“Then I was trying to get back to the pits obviously. I knew there was some damage of course but I didn’t know that the front wing was jammed under the front of the car, and then I lost the steering.”