Formula One: Mark Webber fighting lone battle
There is an intriguing subplot to the intense world championship battle that will be fought out here this weekend: who is in a position to help whom, and will they actually do it?
Jenson Button is already helping Lewis Hamilton to an extent, taking a more adventurous role in choosing which new parts to run (something which didn't help him in the rain in Korea), while Felipe Massa will obviously be obliged to help Alonso all he can since team orders aren't illegal in a title-concluding battle.
At Red Bull, however, they clearly aren't going to ask Sebastian Vettel to help Mark Webber, who has 11 points fewer than Alonso after the snafu in Korea but 14 more than Vettel.
Logically, it would be helpful at this late stage for the young German to ride shotgun for his elder stablemate.
But that's not Red Bull's way, and it's not hard to sympathise with the view that Vettel deserves his own chance of glory.
But Webber has suggested that the team are emotionally supportive of Vettel, just as they have been since he caused the accident that lost them the Turkish Grand Prix. “Technically everything's been very, very good,” Webber said of his treatment by the team for whom he has won four races as opposed to Vettel's three this year. But he was less charitable about the emotional support.
“It's obvious isn't it?” he said trenchantly. “Of course when young, new chargers come on to the block, that's where the emotion is. That's the way it is. Which is absolutely fine, because I've had a great opportunity and a great car to go and do some great things this year, and I have done that. I've got favourites in life. I've got people I like to be with. That's human nature.”
It seems unlikely that Red Bull will lose the constructors' championship, which they lead with 426 points, but Webber voiced concern that they run the risk of letting the drivers' title slip through their fingers.
“Of course you increase your risk of that happening if you race each other,” he added. “But it's certainly not my decision and what I think is really all that important to how we will probably go about it. You'd need to ask the people who run the team.
“It's a tough question and a tough situation to know how you would do things,” he admitted, while pondering what he might do were his and Vettel's positions reversed. “There’s a lot of really good people at this team and there's no getting away from the fact that we would love to win some championships this year.”
And for the first time he touched on a point many others have made. Like Felipe Massa in 2008, 2010 might just be Webber's one big chance.
“We're at different parts of our career as well, so it's not as easy as some might imagine,” he said. “Whatever happens we've now got two races to go and that's what the scoreboard says.”