Formula 1: Mark Webber kept injury secret from Red Bull

MARK WEBBER has revealed he fractured a shoulder when he was within sight of clinching this year's Formula One world title.

Webber sustained the injury with four grands prix remaining, at that stage holding an 11-point lead over Fernando Alonso, while he was 21 clear of Red Bull team-mate and eventual champion Sebastian Vettel.

In his book that reviews his tilt for the championship, 'Up Front - 2010, A Season To Remember', Webber in no way blames the injury for missing out on the title. The Australian ended up third, 14 points behind Vettel. Remarkably, although Webber has confirmed the need for pain-killing injections ahead of the Japanese and Korean Grands Prix, he decided to keep the injury secret from Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

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Writing in his book, Webber said: "If I thought heading home to Australia ahead of Japan might make life easier, I had another think coming.

"On the Sunday morning (a week) before (the Japanese Grand Prix at) Suzuka, I got on a mountain bike for the first time since my accident in Tasmania at the end of 2008.

"I was riding with a great mate of mine. Suddenly, he crashed right in front of me and I had nowhere to go but straight through the ears of the horse!

"I suffered what they call a skier's fracture to my right shoulder. Suzuka is a brutal track so it was a blessing the Japanese weather gave me an enforced rest day on the Saturday (as qualifying was postponed due to rain), and a pre-race injection helped, too. In the end, we got through the weekend all right."

As Webber remarks, it was his first time back on a bike since his crash in November 2008 when he broke his right leg.

In this instance the injury occurred at a vital point of the year, although he initially performed superbly in Japan where he was a close second to Vettel. However, Webber then crashed out in atrocious conditions in Korea, losing his championship lead in the bargain to Alonso who went on to win that particular inaugural race.

After again finishing runner-up to Vettel in Brazil, the season ended in bitter disappointment in Abu Dhabi where Webber came home a below-par eighth, his worst result for 15 races.