Porsche "couldn't have done better" than third, says Webber

Mark Webber believes that the #1 Porsche cew “couldn’t have done a great deal better” than finishing third in the 6 Hours of Fuji, as its WEC winning streak came to an abrupt halt.

Porsche "couldn't have done better" than third, says Webber
Mark Webber, Porsche Team
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, #6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi
Podium: third place #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley

Coming off the back of three successive wins at the Nurburgring, Mexico and Austin, Webber and teammates Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard were forced to settle for a third place in Japan, as Toyota and Audi took the first two steps on the podium.

The #1 car had run second for part of the race late on before dropping back behind the victorious #6 Toyota at the penultimate round of stops, and lacked the pace to catch up in the closing stages.

Webber said the team could still be satisfied, despite its run of wins coming to an end.

“We’re very proud of this result, we couldn’t have done a great deal better,” said the Australian. “It’s easy to talk about what we could have done in hindsight. 

“Our car is a bit more sensitive to double stints than Toyota, and at the end we had a slightly different car to what we had in the middle part of the race. But that’s endurance racing.”

Asked why he couldn’t close the gap to the two leading cars in the last stint, Webber replied: “[The Audi] had fresh tyres all round, we didn’t, so that can help things. 

“Obviously Audi was short on fuel and had to take more fuel at the end, but they had an extra set of tyres from qualifying. All these things add up when it’s that tight at the end.”

Double-stint not an option

Hartley said that the team had concluded that the strategy gamble that ultimately delivered Toyota victory, double stinting its tyres at the finish, wouldn’t have worked for Porsche.

“Both Audi and us can probably look at bits and pieces here and there and think ‘we could have won’, because it was so close,” he said. “So there’s always that feeling of disappointment.

“Regarding the last stint, it was the team’s decision to change the tyres, it was a risky decision from Toyota, but it was an incredible job to pull off the double. 

“They [the team] were crunching the numbers and thought the tyres were going to drop off massively and that our strategy was the best one. 

“At the end it didn’t work out, but that’s racing.”

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