The 34-year old driver was unable to use his Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) throughout the race, losing a great deal of positions at the start and then struggling to advance in the field early on. The unit had hit problems just before the race started and Webber was forced to run on classic Renault power for the entire running this afternoon.
“It was a tough race,” admitted Webber in a post-race interview with the BBC. “Even out of the box it wasn't a good start, but then obviously I was getting killed on the long straight without KERS and also after Turn 2.”
“Then also on the first three or four laps you're trying to pass people and they come back. So it's tough to clear people. It was an interesting grand prix, we keep learning, it's not our day yet, but we are pushing for it to come.”
In the end, Webber had to settle for 4th overall, benefiting from the incident between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in their battle for 3rd place (which saw both drivers make an unscheduled visit to the pits late in the race, the former for changing his front wing and the latter for damaging his rear tires), as he failed to overtake Renault’s Nick Heidfeld for 3rd place.
Webber was not alone in his non-KERS experience at Sepang, as his teammate Sebastian Vettel was also forced to drive a significant amount of time without it due to hitting problems in the race. However, the German did got to use his unit at the start, where he reckoned it was very important to keep his 1st place from pole position.
“Today the start without KERS we would have been in a different position. It gave us what we needed. We had a little problem so we turned it off and then it went back on,” admitted Vettel.