MANAMA (Reuters) - Mark Webber is confident Red Bull have addressed their reliability problems in the run up to the Bahrain Grand Prix and hopes he used up all his bad luck in China last weekend.
The Australian will celebrate 200 races in Formula One in Sunday’s race, for which he will have a three-place penalty on the starting grid for causing a collision in Shanghai.
The 36-year-old started from the pitlane in that race because he ran out of fuel in qualifying, and then retired after a wheel came off his car following one of his team’s lightning quick pitstops.
“China was going so well up until qualifying. Then the wheels literally fell off the weekend,” he told reporters at the Sakhir circuit, describing the two technical problems as “one in a million”.
”It was a very tricky weekend after that. It’s a bit frustrating but I‘m very happy with how I‘m driving, the team are doing a good job in terms of what I need to be quick in the car.
“In terms of reliability problems, we know that they will be addressed very quickly, which they have been, and we will go forward from there,” he added.
Webber, who started out with Minardi in 2002 and raced for Jaguar and Williams before joining Red Bull in 2007, said he had asked for no cakes to mark his big anniversary and wanted to “just get on with it”.
The Australian, winner of nine races in his career, has never been on the podium in Bahrain to date but that could change at the ninth attempt.
”It’s a proud moment,“ he said of the 200 races. ”I‘m not going to be thinking about it while I‘m in the car obviously but when you’re outside the car it’s a bit of a milestone.
“We should be pretty quick here. We are going to have some strong opposition as we have done in the first three races ... we’ve had lots of different people being quick. We should be pretty strong,” he added.
“Whether it’s enough to have a more comfortable scenario like we did in Malaysia as a team, in terms of pace, remains to be seen.”
Webber finished second in Malaysia behind triple champion team mate Sebastian Vettel after the German ignored team orders to stay behind him.
The Australian suggested the wheel problem in China was due to the threads on the wheel nuts and the speed at which pitstops are now conducted.
”They can sometimes backfire,“ he said. ”In the end that’s been addressed technically. I‘m happy with how I‘m driving, there’s a lot of big boxes ticked for me and that’s all you can keep doing.
“I guarantee when we win our first race we won’t be thinking about Shanghai.” (Editing by Peter Rutherford)