Mike Stevens | Nov 2, 2009

AUSTRALIA'S MARK WEBBER is confident he can remain in the hunt for race victories next season after finishing second at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix overnight.

Starting from third on the grid, Webber profited from the misfortune of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton to claim his fourth runner-up finish of the season behind team mate Sebastian Vettel, narrowly beating World Champion Jenson Button.

The result was Red Bull’s third consecutive victory, and sixth for the season, confirming the British-based squad as the most dominant outfit of the second half of the year.

With the 2010-spec F1 cars essentially remaining identical to their current incarnation, Webber believes Red Bull’s strong finish bodes well for next year.

When asked whether Red Bull are here to stay as a top line team, Webber said: “Yes, absolutely. We have got an incredible team back at the factory.

“We know that we have got under Adrian Newey someone that with him leading these type of regulation changes, particularly with what we had at the start of this year, it was clear as soon as we saw the car that it was going to be a bit of a weapon.

He added: “Unfortunately in a way Brawn got the start with the double diffuser and things like that but in the end our team responded well with great character and next year there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for us not to be starting at the front again.

“I would much, much prefer to be in our position than quite a few other teams but we can never get too complacent. This is Formula One and things can change quickly but we are positive about next year, no question about it.”

f1_kamui_kobayashi_toyota

Meanwhile, Toyota is set to confirm Japanese sensation Kamui Kobayashi as the first half of its 2010 driver pairing after the rookie finishing sixth at Yas Marina Circuit.

Kobayashi turned heads with his bullocking display at Interlagos a fortnight earlier, showing no fear as he jostled for position with the likes of World Champion Jenson Button.

The 23-year-old further advanced his claims as Asia’s next great hope overnight, dazzling again as he charged up from 12th on the grid to secure his first points finish of his career.

Kobayashi briefly sat in third place following a daring pass on Button, but he dropped down the order following his first and only pit stop of the race.

Toyota boss John Howett said he was pleased with Kobayashi’s performance, stating the team was impressed by his dogged persistence.

“We will have to give really serious consideration, as he has really shown very good strong results,” he said.

“I am very impressed. We were very happy again. What we like is his real fighting spirit. He is not intimidated by anybody. It's very positive.”

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