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Webber aiming to spoil Vettel’s F1 title party

October 24, 2013

GREATER NOIDA, India (AP) — Few drivers in Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix will be as motivated to beat defending champion Sebastian Vettel more than departing teammate Mark Webber.

Webber leaves Formula One after the 2013 season, calling an end to seven years at Red Bull, the last four of which have been defined by an intense and often strained relationship with Vettel.

Vettel has won the past two Indian GPs from pole position, leading every lap. With the German poised to seal his fourth straight drivers’ title this weekend, Webber knows how difficult it will be to stop him.

“It needs a perfect weekend,” Webber said. “Pole, perfect race, perfect everything to put him off the top step, so that has to be the plan.”

The relationship between the pair hit perhaps its lowest point at this year’s Malaysian GP, when Vettel ignored team orders and passed Webber to deny the Australian the win.

Although he apologized to Webber after the race, Vettel later said his teammate rarely showed him support on the track.

Despite the friction, Webber can’t deny Vettel’s achievements since joining Red Bull.

“He’s had a phenomenal run obviously and the stats here over the last few years have been pretty strong,” Webber said. “Super consistent. That’s what’s made him strong obviously and also getting the most out of the package. The car’s been quick and he’s capitalized on a lot of venues.”

With just four races left before he ends his 12-year F1 career, Webber denies he needs another win before leaving for the World Endurance Championship. But he’d certainly like one.

“My mentality hasn’t really changed since the start of the year,” he said. “I’m still enjoying driving the car to a degree. ... It would be nice to get a top result before the year’s out, but it’ll be four weeks and that’s it.”

Torro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo, who takes Webber’s place at Red Bull next season, knows he faces a steep learning curve if he is to do any better at challenging his new stable mate.

“I’m still very much focused on the rest of the year with Toro Rosso,” Ricciardo said, “and I guess after the season’s over I’ll start the conversion and try to figure out what makes Seb (Vettel) so quick, and try and learn quickly.”

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