MARK Webber will return to his home grand prix this weekend hoping to end a long barren spell on top of the podium at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit.
Since beginning his Formula One campaign in 2002, Webber has failed to lead the pack home in nine attempts on the streets of Melbourne.
Last year looked to be the most promising for the Red Bull driver, but despite qualifying second fastest, Webber failed to translate the great start into a podium finish and ended the race in ninth position.
“I hope I can improve my luck there, as it hasn’t been incredible since my first GP in ’02,” Webber told Formula One.com.
However, Webber has just come off his best season in Formula One – finishing third overall in the driver’s championship – and will be looking to carry that form over to the start of this year’s campaign.
And despite Albert Park being an unhappy hunting ground for Webber and Red Bull, the team are looking at transferring a good pre-season into some positive results this time round.
“I hope to get my best result and there’s every indication we can do that. This is the best winter we’ve had – let’s hope we can carry it onto this event,” he said.
Webber’s main competition will come from Red Bull teammate and Formula One wonder kid, Sebastian Vettel.
Still basking in his maiden driver’s championship, Vettel will obviously be looking to continue his blistering form in the Australian Grand Prix.
“It's nice to look back at last year and at what we achieved but we're all looking forward now and focusing on the new car and season,” Vettel told Formula One.com.
However, Vettel was also unable to translate a good qualifying session into a race win in Melbourne last year.
The German blitzed the field in qualifying to grab pole position but failed to finish after struggling with wheel issues.
Despite last year’s setback, Vettel is keeping a positive outlook on the season opener.
“It all starts from zero again; we're excited, we've had enough of testing now and we want to go racing again."
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