Motorsport: Webber 'coping better than Vettel'

Formula One star Mark Webber is coping better at Red Bull this year than his double world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel, according to one of the German's engineers.

Webber scored his third consecutive fourth place in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, beating Vettel home by one spot.

The Australian has out-qualified Vettel in each of this season's races and, apart from Melbourne when Vettel was second, has finished the round ahead of him.

Webber is now fourth in the world championship, just nine points from the top of the table, which Lewis Hamilton occupies from McLaren teammate Jenson Button and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

According to Cyril Dumont, who works with Vettel through Red Bull's engine supplier Renault, the German has lost the edge he had over Webber in the past two seasons.

He said Red Bull's fading dominance had worked against the less experienced driver.

"Mark tends to be able to get around the problems and adapt," Dumont said.

"But for Sebastian, each ingredient needs to be at its optimum for him to have full confidence and get the performance out.

"The car has worked well for him in the previous two years, while it is true that at the first two grands prix (of 2012) he has been less comfortable.

"Mark seems to be suffering less."

Vettel could manage no more than 11th on the grid at the Chinese GP, then slid to 15th but put a positive spin on the race after finishing fifth.

"We got some good points and it was a good recovery from 15th," Vettel said after German Nico Rosberg, in a Mercedes, won his first race in 111 starts.

"Mercedes won pretty comfortably today, so well done to them. We were generally too slow on the straights, and we're losing time there, it made it difficult to pass other people.

"But overall, I'm pretty happy with fifth given the poor first lap. I missed out on the start, I wasn't entirely happy finding the revs and I lost the initial bit when the lights went off," Vettel said.

Webber described yet another fourth place as "not too bad".

"It wasn't the maximum, but it's very tight between the teams at the front," he said.

"It's good points and we leave here reasonably satisfied, but we need to keep boxing and keep improving."

- AAP

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