Webber and Ricciardo target Sepang after home joy

Updated: 19 March 2012 14:56 IST

Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo hoped to build on their success in Malaysia this week after both enjoyed career highs in the first Formula One Australian Grand Prix to feature two local drivers.

Webber and Ricciardo target Sepang after home joy

Melbourne:

Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo hoped to build on their success in Malaysia this week after both enjoyed career highs in the first Formula One Australian Grand Prix to feature two local drivers.


Red Bull's Webber broke a 10-year hoodoo by finishing fourth - finally improving on the fifth place he grabbed on debut with Minardi - while Ricciardo was delighted to be in the points on his home debut.

"I'm reasonably happy with that after the start," Webber said.

"I've shaken off a bit of the rust and feel we are in the scrap and back where we want to be. I am certainly looking forward to Malaysia now and we know where we have things that we can work on."

In a quirk of fate, Ricciardo's ninth-place finish in his first Australian Grand Prix was with Toro Rosso, the modern incarnation of the former Minardi outfit.

"It's amazing how these things work out," said Ricciardo, who was elevated into the top 10 by a dramatic finish.

Venezuela's Pastor Maldonado crashed out of the points on his last lap, and Ricciardo started his final circuit in 11th place directly behind Toro Rosso stable-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

But when German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes and Mexican Sergio Perez of Sauber clashed, Ricciardo pounced, picking off Vergne on the exit of turn 13 and benefiting from Rosberg's puncture to seal ninth in a dramatic ending.

"I was a bit lucky to be the last one in that group because I could have a clear picture of the other cars going off in front."

"Then I had a chance to attack Jean-Eric. He defended into turn 13 and I thought I could make the switch back and I did, which put me in P9 (position nine). The last few laps were crazy and I was pushing like hell."

"I'm extremely happy and it's great to score my first F1 points here at home in Australia, where the crowd has been just fantastic all weekend long. Now I just can't wait for the next race in Malaysia this week!"

Yet Ricciardo believed he would have finished higher if his race had not been badly affected by damage suffered at the start, when he was involved in a multi-car tangle at turn one.

"It's good to finish ninth, but I think I could have done better," he said. "I made a decent start but there were too many of us there. I hit the left front quite hard against a Williams and had to come in to change the nose. I had to race with a bit of damage after that."

"It was not easy to come back, but I never gave up, pushing all the time. I don't really know how that happened on the last lap."



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