Webber and Coulthards half-term report 01 Jul 2008
This weekends British Grand Prix marks the half-way point of the 2008 Formula One championship. From podium finishes to crashing out of Q1, the season for Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and David Coulthard has seen high and lows come and go in equal measure. Here both Webber and Coulthard assess their progress so far
Current championship position: 8th (18 points)
Best race result: 4th, Best qualifying: 6th
Currently, the season is going better than we could have expected after the start of the year when we had a lot of tough opposition down the pit lane. Those teams are still there, but the numbers never lie and at the moment, we are looking good to maintain fourth place in the constructors championship. Touch wood, Ive had a good run in terms of reliability and thats certainly helped. I think we have executed most of our weekends pretty well and there havent been many races where weve had to dig out the hindsight goggles. In terms of qualifying and the race, it has generally gone well and certainly much better than last year. Not many teams have managed to get seven consecutive points scoring finishes. Okay, maybe were not banging out podiums and race wins but we are doing everything that can be asked of us at the moment.
Personally, from the middle part of last year, I started to work well in terms of getting the most out of the car and understanding it and that has carried through to the present and Im pretty happy with the way Ive been driving. Having a reliable car has helped and it will be asking a lot to maintain one hundred percent reliability through to the end of the year, but I hope the bad race weekend stays away for as long as possible. Im comfortable with RB4 and I feel I can put it on the limit at most venues, which is encouraging. I am trying to keep the errors to a minimum and thats been reflected in our points tally. Qualifying is more than ever this year proving crucial in setting yourself up for a good race as you really need to be in a strong position at the end of your first race stint. Therefore grid position is important and this year, the qualifying procedure is a lot easier as you get a few chances to nail that lap, so there are no excuses for not doing the job in qualifying. Apart from Melbourne, where I had a brake problem and Bahrain where I qualified eleventh, Ive made it through to Q3 in every race. Weve been on the bubble of not getting through on a couple of occasions, but thankfully its always gone my way.
As for the rest of the season, its not going to get any easier for us and we still have to deliver week in and week out. Its a cliche but Ill be taking every race as it comes. In terms of the opposition, Renault have definitely not performed to their maximum yet and we can expect strong opposition from them and from a few other drivers and teams that have maybe underperformed so far.
Current championship position: 12th (6 points)
Best race result: 3rd, Best qualifying: 7th
The first half of the season has been a mixed bag for the team mainly through my results, as Mark has had his best season to date. I had a couple of wobbles in qualifying earlier in the year and that has resulted in being on the wrong piece of race track at the wrong time and getting involved in incidents. The only weekend where I had an incident all by myself was in Monaco, but that was off the back of having no running on the Thursday because of reliability issues.
Without trying to give the impression of poor me making excuses, Ive definitely had the non-Red Bull end of the stick! But on the positive side, Ive been in the top ten several times and Ive had a podium finish in Canada. There have also been three ninth place finishes, which doesnt sound very sexy, but in all those races, I was less than ten seconds away from seventh, which shows just how competitive it is in that midfield.
I am genuinely optimistic for the second half of the year, but its going to be incredibly tight with Toyota, Renault and Williams. Having said that, my one day of testing at Silverstone did not go too well, so my preparation for the British Grand Prix has definitely been hampered, because the high speed nature of the track means it helps to get your eye in by doing plenty of laps. Were on the back foot, but the team has the strength to bounce back and have a good weekend.