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Webber hails slick tyre gamble after podium

Speedcafe.com

Monday 13th June, 2011 - 8:23am

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The drivers faced tough conditions on race day in Montreal

The drivers faced tough conditions on race day in Montreal

Mark Webber took a gritty podium finish from the Canadian Grand Prix after vaulting into contention thanks to a tyre gamble.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s race report, the results and championship points standings

The Australian had made a clean getaway from fourth on the grid before being turned around by Lewis Hamilton at the first corner.

Spinning back to 16th position, Webber fought his way back up to seventh place when the red flag came out on Lap 25, before becoming the first to move to slick tyres while running sixth on Lap 51.

By the time the final Safety Car of the race was called for debris on  Lap 57, Webber had emerged from the pitstop-induced shuffling in third place.

“I had to roll the dice a little bit, it was very hard to clear some of those guys from the dry line,” said Webber of his predicament prior to the stop.

“When you are trying to come through and there’s such a narrow window to get down the inside of people, experienced guys like Michael (Schumacher) and (Nick) Heidfeld and those guys know what they’re doing, so I thought I’d roll the dice (and pit first).

“I was happy to see not everyone pitting the lap after me like I thought it would be, and two laps was enough to bring me back into the game for the podium.”

Webber subsequently waged a thrilling battle with Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button, passing the German by cutting the final chicane on Lap 63, before cleverly slotting back between the silver cars to re-address the situation.

A second trip across the chicane on the following lap allowed Button through, before Webber finally made it past Schumacher and into the final podium slot on Lap 67 of 70.

“I followed Michael and it was difficult,” explained Webber.

“We wanted the same bit of track obviously braking for the chicane. In the end I got there, but when JB arrived I was absolutely flying and I was trying to be as fair as I could.

“Obviously I passed Michael through the chicane so I had to give the position back.”

Webber remains third in the championship standings, with Button and his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton having switched positions to be second and fourth respectively.

Webber classified third place as a good result considering the first corner mishap.

“These were the results we all deserved today,” he said.

“JB drove a great race, Seb did a phenomenal job and obviously it’s easy to make a mistake like that (losing the lead to Button on the last lap) in those conditions.

“I think third is probably the best I could have got today after the first corner incident.”

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