Mark Webber puts Australia disappointment behind him

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The Independent Online

Mark Webber is convinced he will be able to "hang out at the front" in Malaysia this weekend after a home grand prix to forget.

After coming so close to Formula One world title glory last season, Webber was at least hoping to start this year on the right foot in Australia 11 days ago.

But after qualifying almost nine tenths of a second behind Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel around Melbourne's Albert Park, Webber could only then finish fifth, 38 seconds adrift of the German.

The team have since identified issues with Webber's car, however, the 34-year-old today refused to be drawn on the problems.

In light of his complaints last season of being a "number two driver", the inference could be that Webber did not want to be seen to be complaining so early into the campaign.

"There were a few issues we found post-race which certainly did not help the situation," said Webber.

"We are not going to go into it too much further than that. We will do a better job this weekend, get more out of the car and hang out at the front like we normally have."

Asked to elaborate, Webber added: "I am not going to make a meal of what happened in Melbourne, so let's talk about Malaysia."

Webber at least confirmed the issue is curable, but whether he will be any closer to Vettel around Sepang remains to be seen.

In terms of the gap to Vettel, one that team principal Christian Horner could not previously recall seeing, it surely cannot be any worse for the Australian.

"I would say I've a good chance of winning - I hope so," assessed Webber.

"We did well here last year (Vettel beat Webber in a one-two), and the car just won the last grand prix.

"But it is pretty brutal here with regard to the track temperature, so it will be interesting on the tyres. No-one knows how that will unfold.

"I don't know what they (Pirelli) have done in testing in Istanbul and other places. This is probably the most extreme situation they have faced so far as a company.

"Let's see how they go, but even by their own admission they are expecting a few pit stops."