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Webber: Officials made the right call

Mark Webber believes race officials were right to red-flag the Malaysian Grand Prix on lap 32 and to decide against restarting it.

Torrential rain flooded the circuit shortly after the halfway point, making the circuit undriveable even at slow speeds behind the safety car, and conditions did not improve in time to allow a resumption before the race reached its two-hour time limit.

Webber, who scored one and a half points for sixth place after a combative drive, backed the race director’s judgements and said fading light was the main reason the event had to be called off.

“The guys made the best call to stop the race when they did,” said the Australian.

“It would have been nice to have had some more laps to give us a crack at getting on the podium – but that’s how it is, so I’ve got mixed emotions.

“It's dark now (7pm), so it was the right call not to make a restart.”

The decision to move the start time for this year’s race to 5pm was widely criticised as making a deluge almost inevitable, but Webber felt it was not easy to second-guess Malaysia's tropical climate.

“I'm not so sure you can blame the time of day for today's conditions, as the weather was bad at 3pm too,” he noted.

“It seems it was just one of those days.

“It's been the mistiest and coolest day I've ever seen in Malaysia for race day.”

Webber’s Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel aquaplaned off the road while on intermediate tyres during the downpour.

“Not so much to tell,” he said.

“I was on the intermediate tyres and they were pretty gone as it wasn't very wet before the sudden downpour.

“I was approaching turn seven and there was suddenly lots of water, but I was being very cautious.

“I lost the car due to aquaplaning and there was nothing I could do.

“There was too much water and my tyres were not made for those conditions.”

Although he kept his RB5 out of the gravel, Vettel’s engine died and he was unable to fire it up again.

The young German lamented the fact that modern F1 cars don’t allow drivers to dip the clutch and keep the engine running.

“A spin wouldn't have been much of a problem, but the anti-stall didn't work,” he explained.

“Without that, I would just have spun, lost some time and that would have been it.

“In the past drivers had three pedals, a throttle, a brake and a clutch and when you were spinning you knew exactly what to do.

“It's not in our hands any more, so it's a shame that we have to retire for this stupid reason.”

Team principal Christian Horner added: “Just before the heavy rain came, [Vettel] was the quickest car on the track at the time but unfortunately he spun on his in-lap to get extremes and the anti-stall didn't catch the engine, so that was the end of his race.

“Mark made a pit stop for intermediates just before it started to rain heavily and then pitted again for the extremes.

“If he would have completed that lap, we believe he would have been third in the running order.

“However, the countback classifies us sixth.”

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