Webber on the brink as McLaren pair close
Mark Webber is at risk of sliding further down the Castrol EDGE Rankings after a poor result in Hungary combined with McLaren’s resurgence to leave him on the brink.
The Australian was a seemingly ever-present fixture in the Rankings top two since moving into second in late 2010, but dropped down to third when Fernando Alonso demoted him by claiming victory in the German Grand Prix.
The Australian lost further ground in Hungary and is now under threat from Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, both of whom could surpass him in the next race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Webber’s plight is all the more unusual as he remains second in the drivers’ championship, albeit having once again lost ground to Alonso in Hungary.
He is now 40 points behind Alonso, and just two ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton is a further five points down the road.
Webber’s fall owes much to Red Bull not being able to match its 2011 dominance – a phenomenon which also affects current long-term Rankings leader Vettel.
The German was able to extend his Rankings lead in Hungary as Alonso lost ground, but the massive advantage with which he started the year has gradually been eroded over the first 11 races.
The result has been a far tighter Rankings top order this year than last, with Alonso through to Button – second through to fifth – now covered by less than the total for a race win.
As the field closes, Webber has already slid into third and could fall yet further should results continue to not go his way.
As the season progresses, another man is also fighting to get himself in the mix: Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen.
The Finn once again made substantial gains following Hungary, jumping nine places into 31st.
That represents a meteoric rise, Raikkonen having been ranked 254th when the season began.
Looking only at form over 2012 via the Castrol EDGE Race, Raikkonen indeed sits fifth, ahead of Button and only fractions behind Webber.
Bruno Senna (59) and Nico Hulkenberg (115) were the other big movers on the weekend, gaining nine and 14 places respectively.
For Senna, the early promise of breaking into Q3 for the first time was fulfilled by coming home seventh, having held off Webber’s Red Bull in the closing stages.
Hulkenberg meanwhile could not crack the points, missing out to compatriot Nico Rosberg in the hunt for 10th.
He also made it into Q3 however, and did enough to move onto the brink of a top 100 Ranking for the first time since June 2010.