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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Webber likely to see out F1 career at Red Bull

Posted: 05 May 2011 07:33 PM PDT

Webber walks in the paddock ahead of the Turkish F1 Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul yesterday, May 5, 2011. — Reuters pic

ISTANBUL, May 6 — Mark Webber indicated yesterday that he would see out his Formula One career at Red Bull and revealed how close he came to quitting the sport a few years ago.

The 34-year-old Australian, whose contract with the world champions expires at the end of the year, told reporters at the Turkish Grand Prix that he had three options for 2012 and the choice would be his.

"Stay here, stop or drive somewhere else — which is probably unlikely," he said.

"It's obviously down a lot to how I feel about things and we'll see how we feel later in the year," he added.

"I could have stopped two, three years ago but I didn't, I kept going. The results have been good in the last few years and are still being good now."

While Webber joined Red Bull in 2007, finishing 12th and 11th overall in his first two years with the team, the Australian was clearly referring to his difficult years at Williams before then in 2005 and 2006.

"It's old ground isn't it?" he said when pressed on the subject. "We know the window in my career where I was thinking about it (stopping). It didn't happen, I came to Red Bull and (we've) done some great things together.

"There's still a lot of big boxes to tick hopefully and do some great things."

Webber won four races last season and was a title contender, if not favourite, going into the final race in Abu Dhabi won by German team mate Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel won the race and the title, becoming the youngest ever champion at 23 years old, and has gone from strength to strength.

The youngster has been on pole position for all three races this season and won two of them, finishing second in the other in China.

Webber's third place in China was his first podium finish since Brazil last November and the rise of Vettel has led to speculation that the Australian could look elsewhere next year or retire.

He said he was keeping things open, and the team were happy with that.

"We haven't had too many discussions yet but obviously in the next few months things will start... it's not really a big subject," said Webber.

"We realise how many good things we've done together and there's a good chance of doing some very good things again together in future. Whether it ends this year or I go again next year, it doesn't depend on results.

"(The) results will be fine. It depends on how I feel," said the man who won in Monaco and at Silverstone last year.

"There's a lot of things that have happened in the last few years that have been big highlights for me and sensational moments so I hope I can add to those in the next few years and go from there."

Webber had not won a race before he joined Red Bull, a third place in Monaco in 2005 being his best previous result, and he was 10th and 14th overall in an uncompetitive car with former champions Williams.

"I just didn't enjoy my time before I came here," he recalled.

"At Williams it was a tough fight for me. At that point I had to restart my career in a way and it worked out very well.

"So obviously I made the right decision there and since then I've taken it step by step which has been the right way for my mentality towards the job and probably also suits Red Bull quite well." — Reuters

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Andy Murray crashes out of Madrid Open

Posted: 05 May 2011 05:28 PM PDT

Murray returns a backhand during his match against Bellucci yesterday, May 5, 2011. — Reuters pic

MADRID, May 6 — World number four Andy Murray crashed out of the Madrid Open when he was beaten 6-4 6-2 by unseeded Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci in the third round yesterday.

Murray, who is returning from an elbow injury that prevented him playing at last month's Barcelona Open, had his serve broken once in the first set and twice in the second by the stylish left-hander in the pair's first meeting.

Bellucci, ranked 36, saved all three break points he faced on the clay at the Magic Box arena and sealed victory on his first match point when Murray netted a backhand.

Murray, who will now head to Italy for next week's Rome Masters, was not too disheartened with the defeat and said he had to be realistic about his chances in Madrid after his injury layoff.

"I've got to look more at the week as a whole," the 23-year-old Scot told a news conference.

"I was coming back from an injury that wasn't serious but an elbow injury isn't easy for tennis players.

"I'm happy that physically I progressed, I was hitting the ball decent, I think I can definitely get better.

"You just need to be quite cautious and not do too much too soon because then you take a step back, but I think I've judged it pretty well.

"I need to get my tennis back because that's the most important thing going into Rome and the French Open." — Reuters

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