'We just weren't quick enough' - Webber
Mark Webber and Red Bull have admitted their car simply was not quick enough on hard tyres to make it out of the first session of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Webber will line up 18th on the grid for Sunday's race after failing to make the cut at the end of Q1. After losing set-up time with an electrical fault during Saturday morning practice, he faced qualifying without KERS and attempted to get out of the first session on the harder tyres in order to save a set of softs for later in the session. However, the rest of the midfield cars used softs and left the Australian red-faced as he failed set a top-17 lap time.
"It was a very frustrating day," he told the BBC afterwards. "I did one lap in FP3 and then tried get in to things in Q1 and we got caught out on the first setů We just weren't quick enough at the end of the day."
Webber also made reference to the problems he had with the car in the morning.
"We've got a few plates spinning in the background and we paid the ultimate price for that. I thought we had enough to get through, but that's the way it goes."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said a lack of tyre temperature on the hard tyres in the chilly 15C weather had caught the team off guard.
"It's been a rotten day for Mark today," Horner said. "He had an electrical issue in the morning and it was massive effort by the entire crew, including the mechanics from Sebastian's car, to get the car ready for qualifying. His first run wasn't great so then we went to run again on the prime tyres but unfortunately those tyres weren't quite up to temperature for his optimum first lap and he missed out. It's just one of those things, but disappointing for Mark and for the team that we haven't got both the cars up there where we want them to be."
He said it had been the team's decision not to send him out on soft tyres for his last run, which would have almost certainly secured him a place in the next round of qualifying.
"It was the team's call because it looked that another set of primes should have been enough, [judging by] the pace we saw in the car this morning with Mark's short amount of running," he added. "It should have been enough to comfortably make it through, but with the tyres not being up to temperature it obviously compromised him. He's just had rotten luck this weekend but I'm sure he can race very well from there."
He admitted the decision was incorrect with the benefit of hindsight.
"We thought there would be enough performance to do it on the prime. Everything that we had seen previously suggested that you should be able to do it on the first lap on the prime and that we shouldn't have needed to run the prime. Of course it's very easy with 20:20 vision and hindsight to say that that was a mistake and we should have gone on the option."