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Mike Stevens | Jun 17, 2009

AUSTRALIA'S MARK WEBBER claims there are no tensions in the Red Bull garage despite team mate Sebastian Vettel’s recent run of poor form.

Webber has outperformed his more fancied team mate in the last three races, closing to within 1.5 points of Vettel in the driver’s standings.

After breaking his leg on his own charity cycling event in Tasmania last year, Webber faced a battle against time to recover his fitness and prepare for a season looming potentially as the most important of his career.

While early form suggested Webber would be regularly outpaced by his German rival, the former Williams driver bounced back, securing two podiums in the last three races to emerge as arguably the strongest non-Brawn driver in the field.

Webber said he is revelling in the opportunity to prove his doubters wrong and re-establish himself as an elite racer.

He wrote in his BBC column: “I'm enjoying my battle with my team-mate Sebastian Vettel this year.

“It's the first time I've had someone so quick as my team-mate, and I've always said that's what it's all about - at this level, you want to compare yourself to the best guys.

“Vettel is hot property at the moment and he's done a great job to get where he is but there's just a point and a half between us in the championship.”

red-bull-racing_mark-webber

Although Webber was previously cast as a qualifying specialist, the type of driver unable to replicate his Saturday pace on race day, he has managed to dispel those concerns this season.

Out-qualified by Vettel at every event this season, the 32-year old has been forced to rely on his race craft to keep in touch with rivals, proving he is capable of pushing the tempo during two blistering stints at Turkey and Barcelona.

However, Webber denies his improved Grand Prix performances have been motivated by the challenge presented by his team mate, claiming he hasn’t changed his in-car mentality.

“People ask me if I feel under pressure, but I think there's more pressure on Sebastian. In people's eyes, I'm not supposed to be doing what I'm doing,” he said. “People think he's the new Schumacher and should be hosing it, but it's good that's not the case.

“I don't feel any more pressure than when I'm driving for 10th or 12th. There's no pressure to prove anything to anyone but myself.

“The last two or three races have gone well for me and less well for Sebastian but things are fine between us.”

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