British Grand Prix: Mark Webber coy on Ferrari improvement

By Andrew BensonBBC Sport at Silverstone

Red Bull's Mark Webber says it is too early to judge whether his team have lost out and Ferrari gained as a result of the latest rule changes.

The Australian took British Grand Prix pole but Red Bull's advantage over Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in third was less than expected.

"Normally on tracks like this we'd be further down the road," Webber said.

"There might be a bit of a form card starting to build, but we need some more races to see if that is the case."

Alonso was just 0.117 seconds slower than Webber's pole time, with the two men split by the other Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.

That margin is far smaller than Ferrari's average deficit to Red Bull this season and is even slightly less than the previous smallest gap between Alonso and pole until this race - in Canada, on a track that would be expected to suit Ferrari far better.

Ferrari have tended to struggle this season and in recent years on tracks like Silverstone with long-duration medium and high-speed corners, while Red Bull have excelled.

This has led to speculation that the ban on off-throttle blowing of diffusers for this weekend - a technology with which teams blow exhaust gases over the rear of the car even when the driver is not pressing the accelerator - has ended up favouring Ferrari more than the other top teams.

But Alonso dismissed that, saying he believed that new parts Ferrari had brought to this race - which include new rear bodywork and rear wing - were more influential.

"It's a difficult question to answer," said the Spaniard. "But my guess it is just [from] the new parts on the car.

"We all lose performance with the rules and we all lose more or less the same performance - from 0.3-0.5secs.

"I don't think one team can lose 1.5secs and one team 0.1secs. This is not possible. I guess because we are third and fourth now, the team did a very good job and the new parts we are more competitive."

Alonso described his qualifying result as a "good surprise".

"[I'm] very happy," he added. "It is the best qualifying in terms of gap to pole position in the year, we have been one sec to 0.7secs in the last couple of races.

"To be here in Silverstone on a high-speed circuit within 0.1secs of Red Bull is a fantastic result for us.

"Definitely we are closer than ever - we have been [nearly] always one second behind and second and third in the races.

"In Turkey we finished third fighting Mark to the end and in the last race [in Valencia] we finished second [to Vettel], also fighting with the Red Bulls, and that was being 0.7secs behind in qually.

"Today we are a bit quicker I'm sure we can put some more pressure on them [in the race]."

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