SILVERSTONE, England // Mark Webber saw the funny side. As he joined the other drivers for the pre-race parade, several came over and asked whether he would like to swap front wings - although Sebastian Vettel, his Red Bull teammate, was not among them. On Saturday, Webber made no attempt to conceal his feelings after the team had given Vettel the only surviving version of its uprated front wing - the other having failed that morning while fitted to the German's car. Webber made light of this in the race's immediate aftermath. When Christian Horner, the Red Bull-Racing sporting director, came on the radio to congratulate the Australian, Webber replied, "Yeah, not bad for a number two driver."
That, Horner said, was a throwaway comment. "You know Mark," he said. "He's king of the one-liners." Webber's win, his third of the season, moves him up to third in the championship, 17 points behind Lewis Hamilton but seven ahead of Vettel - and that could work in his favour in future races. Saturday's situation - a team having only one available example of a new component - is fairly unusual. "If the same situation should arise again," said Horner, "we would use the same criteria to decide which driver should use it.
"It was felt the wing offered a slight advantage - and technical director Adrian Newey and I took a decision based on championship positions, with Sebastian leading Mark by 12 points, and performance in the final free practice session, when Seb was fractionally faster. "It's not a matter of having a number one driver and a number two. If the situation arose again we would use the same criteria, but we only had one wing and I couldn't exactly cut it in half."
Webber added: "Yesterday was a unique situation. It was the first time that the team had only one example of a particular component. "Honestly, I would never have signed a new contract for next year if I believed that was the way things would be going forward. That's why I was disappointed yesterday and was honest with you guys. "Let's see how it goes in the future, but I'll just keep doing what I do and hopefully that will be enough."
It was almost overlooked that his victory represented quite some recovery, given that he had somersaulted out of the previous race at 190mph and was using a replacement chassis Vettel had rejected earlier in the campaign. Post-race, though, all the talk was about the Red Bull hierarchy - and Horner underlined, again, that parity will apply until such a time as one or other driver is mathematically incapable of winning the title. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org