Despite being beaten into second place by team-mate Sebastian Vettel, Formula One world championship leader Mark Webber said he had a “very good day” at the Japanese Grand Prix Sunday
The Australian extended his championship lead to 14 points when he finished 0.9 seconds behind the German in the 53-lap race. Webber is on 220 points with Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on 206 points.
It was Webber’s ninth podium of the season, and he remains in the box seat for the title with races in South Korea, Brazil and Abu Dhabi to close out the season.
“The most important thing is the gap is going in the right way,” Webber said. “I have to keep it like that. We have three races to go and it is a good result for me.
“Seb deserved the victory, (but) I need to win again in the future. I’m confident I can do that.”
Webber, who missed out on pole by 0.068secs to Vettel in the rescheduled qualifying session after rain lashed the Suzuka circuit on Saturday afternoon, was slow off the line at the start of the race.
From third on the grid, Renault’s Robert Kubica passed the Australian into the first corner, but the Polish driver would soon retire after his right rear wheel came loose and fell off on lap three.
“Robert got an incredible start, probably the best start out of the top five,” Webber said.
“He was like a cannon from third on the grid, but then he had a problem behind the safety car. It was close with Seb in qualifying, and we obviously know how crucial that is. After that, it was going to be difficult for me to win the race.”