Aussie Webber shows off his cricket skills as Red Bull look to move closer to constructors' title in India
16:29 GMT, 24 October 2012
Red Bull driver Mark Webber swapped holding a steering wheel for a cricket bat as the Australian prepared for the Indian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Aussie faced a number of balls from Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir at Noida International University and revealed that while on the face of it there might not seem to be too many similarities between the two sports, the skills involved are the same.
Webber said: ‘A trip to India is incomplete without the delicious food and a game of cricket. Cricket as a sport requires a lot of concentration and hand-eye coordination, especially under extreme conditions, and so does Formula One.’
Eyes on the prize: Mark Webber plays a shot from the bowling of Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhirs as Red Bull look to close in on the constructors' title
Mark Webber and Gautam Gambhir
Webber’s Red Bull hold a healthy 77-point advantage over Ferrari in the constructors championship with just four races left in the season Webber says they are taking nothing for granted.
He said: ‘Hunger is still there as every race is a new challenge for us. We would like to win every race to end the season on a high.
‘Yes, we have a good lead at the constructors' table to the day. Everyone associated with the team has put in a massive effort to take us where we are right now. There would be nothing more satisfying than to win the teams' championship three years in a row.
‘It's a very special achievement for Red Bull. The next two events are very important that we keep our foot on their throats and see how the next few go. We are not looking at the points really. We need to reap in the maximum from the races ahead.’
Playing in straight: Webber enjoys a game of cricket ahead of the Indian Grand Prix
Diving in: Webber makes a dive to complete a run
Meanwhile, over at McLaren Martin Whitmarsh is predicting a more 'profitable affair' for his side in Formula One's latest double-header after being forced to feed off scraps in the Far East.
Heading into the races in Japan and Korea earlier this month, Lewis Hamilton was in with a shout of the drivers' title, whilst McLaren as a team were pushing Red Bull in the constructors' championship.
But in the space of eight forgettable days Hamilton saw his hopes of departing McLaren as a double world champion effectively bite the dust as he is now 62 points behind Sebastian Vettel.
The 27-year-old could only manage fifth in Japan and then a battling 10th in Korea where he suffered a rear anti-roll bar failure that badly affected the handling of his car.
Team-mate Jenson Button fared little better as he was fourth around Suzuka before being punted off on the first lap by Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi at Yeongam.
Bowling Mark: Webber chances his arm with the ball
The word is watching: Gambhir bowls to Webber in front of the media
As for McLaren, it would appear they are now simply looking to finish ahead of bitter rivals Ferrari in the team race after slipping to third.
The forthcoming races in India and Abu Dhabi surely cannot be any worse for McLaren as team principal Whitmarsh said: 'Our two weekends in Japan and Korea weren't particularly prosperous.
'But while fortune certainly didn't smile on us during those two races, it's proof – if it were needed – that no team or driver is immune from tides of good or bad luck.
'Of course, luck flows both ways, and I'm positive that after two disappointing races, this next double-header will be a more profitable affair for Jenson, Lewis and the whole team.'
Hamilton's drive to 10th in Korea was particularly hard-fought, with the point gained described by Whitmarsh as 'heroic'.
Although announcing four weeks ago his departure from McLaren after 14 years to join Mercedes on a 15million-per-season, three-year deal, his commitment still to the Woking marque's cause cannot be questioned.
Talking a good game: Webber and Gambhir discuss their sports
For his part, Hamilton believes he is leaving no stone unturned on the track as he said: “I feel I've been driving better than ever recently – even if the results haven't quite shown it.
'So I'm headed to India determined for another good result. I think we'll have a car that's a match for the circuit, and I can't wait to get out there and start practicing on Friday.'
As for Button, he has already conceded he will be driving for fun over the final four grands prix after falling 84 points adrift of championship leader Sebastian Vettel in the standings.
Following the incident with Kobayashi, it has become a case of attempting to close out the season on a high.
'Through no fault of my own, my weekend in Korea was a wasted opportunity,” said Button.
'But it's already far behind me, and I'm really looking forward to these next two back-to-back races.
'The Indian Grand Prix went well for me last year – I had an absolutely straightforward drive, running second from start to finish.
'It's a circuit I like. It has a good feel to it, and you can tell it's quite different from the normal places we visit.'
Although tangling with Felipe Massa last year en route to seventh, Hamilton is also an admirer of the Buddh International Circuit, one of designer Hermann Tilke's better efforts compared to Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi that follows next weekend.
Hamilton said: “The circuit is something of a revelation.
'Most modern tracks have a very similar feel. You find that the same driving style and rhythm suits them all.
'But the Buddh International Circuit is different. It has more in common with a great track like Spa than it does with any number of the more modern places we visit.
'That's because it's got an incredible flow. From Turn Four, a wide-apex right-hander that sweeps downhill, the track is just a series of fast, rolling curves which really allow you to put the car absolutely on the limit.'