Mike Stevens | Apr 19, 2009
Sebastian Vettel battles the wet conditions at the 2009 China F1 GP.

Australian Mark Webber secured the best result of his Formula One career after finishing second to Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

Starting from third on the grid, Webber was trapped behind the Renault of Fernando Alonso during the early stages of the race, as drivers started under the safety car due to a downpour which coated the circuit.

Once the safety car peeled away, Alonso was forced to pit, having qualified on a light fuel load, allowing Webber and Vettel to establish an early advantage ahead of the opening stops.

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Photo by Wenny Wu.

Meanwhile, back in the field, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton were locked in a stunning duel, trading places numerous times before the Finn finally succumbed to the McLaren’s advances.

Toyota’s Jarno Trulli was eliminated from the race in stunning fashion, losing his rear wing and fracturing the car’s engine cover after Robert Kubica launched himself into the car heading into the final turn on lap 18.

Kubica returned to the action but was largely a non-factor, prompting another safety car period.

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Having snuck into second place between the Red Bull’s following the stops, Jenson Button appeared on course to challenge for a third consecutive win this season, only to lose touch with Vettel at the restart.

Webber swooped on lap 28 to regain second from Button after the Briton made an error at the hairpin, only to regain the place a few laps later when Webber went wide at the troublesome final corner.

The 32-year old though settled matters a few laps later, making a stunning pass around the outside at turn seven before streaking ahead of Button and commencing his chase of Vettel.

His efforts proved futile however as Vettel secured the second victory of his short career, while Webber was forced to be content with a personal best second place.

He said after the race: "We capitalised on a car that worked well but pushed each other hard during the race.

"The conditions were tough for the whole grand prix. It got a bit better in the middle and then a bit interesting at the end. It was a very tough race, extremely rewarding to get this result and personally for myself, it is the best result of my career.

"I hope to go one step better in the future, this is the way forward."

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