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GP Week : Issue 54
5 Minutes with ... MARK WEBBER Emotions ran high as the popular Aussie won his first F1 Grand Prix, but a few hours later all was back to normal when he spoke to CHRIS LAMBDEN MARK Webber and his small entourage like to get home quickly after races. On Sunday evening, thanks to a helicopter out of the track, Team Webber was home in the UK by 8pm and back to normality – he may have won his first GP, but the first thing he did was to walk the dog. As usual. A little later, he spoke exclusively to GPWEEK ... GPWEEK: It’s been a long road … six hours after your first GP win, what’s going through your mind? MARK WEBBER: I’m really happy, for a number of reasons. But mainly, I wanted my first victory to be one that wasn’t ‘handed’ to me; one that was really earned. And that’s what I did – we won off the front row. Okay, it wasn’t without incident, with the drive-through, but other than that … we changed tyre strategy. We were going to go soft-soft, but I made the call from the cockpit to put the prime tyre on for the second stint and backed it up with a strong middle stint, which laid the foundations for the rest of the day. I’ve been at Red Bull for three years now, and there have been some tough times. The whole team started, effectively, from nothing and progressed. To start winning, as we did with Sebastian earlier in the year, and now to reverse the roles, and come up with a quality 1-2 this weekend, is just great. There’s been a lot of attention on Sebastian, but today’s win was as dominant a win as you’d see. Does this confirm Mark Webber as a title contender? The thing I’m rapt with so far has been my consistency. Sunday afternoons have gone very well for me, as has Saturday. With KERS cars around, the run to the first corner is so important, so qualifying is crucial – a tenth or half a tenth short can really expose you in the first stint. That was what the difference was this weekend. If I can continue to do this, with consistency, then yes, it’s a good thing … Jenson is a guy who doesn’t make 20 mistakes, and doesn’t put a wheel wrong generally, and he’s got a big points buffer, no question, as well as a really strong car. It’s up to the team to stuff it up for him! They’re down the road a bit, so all I can do is keep focussing on every race – the numbers will take care of themselves. After the disappointment of Silverstone, it seemed like the determination factor was higher than ever – that scramble to be first around on the opening lap of Q2, with cars going in all directions, as an example! ... Well, it was a very important weekend, for many reasons. I’ve got incredible guys on my side of the garage, and a huge number of people behind me, backing me. And so you’ve got to show them that you’re there to be counted as well. But again, we’re talking about the finest of margins, half-tenths. It’s very tight between Seb and myself. I didn’t go to Germany with Sebastian in mind. It was more about me going there, knowing it was going to be a cooler race, and to show that Silverstone wasn’t a one-off; that we as a team could perform against Brawn. I wanted to lead that charge, and I guess I did want to show Sebastien that I needed to be taken account of as well. He’s clearly incredibly quick, and he can be a handful – but that’s what it’s about at this level. Millions of hearts sunk in Australia – and I guess yours – when the drive-through was confirmed. How soon was it before you realised that you could still put it all together and win? My race engineer Ciaron and I have been together a long time and he knows how I tick – he always tells me stuff as it is, not what I want to hear. But I’ve heard since the race that he told me as late as possible as he didn’t want me to mull on it too long! I’d wondered whether I might be in trouble – the last thing I wanted to do was have contact on the front straight … I lost where Rubens was for a bit and we clipped each other … The message though, when it came was bad news/good news. Ciaron said “ you’ve got a drive-through mate … but we can still win.” That was music to my ears, because although I knew I could still get a strong result regardless, I wasn’t interested in second or third, because I knew I had the pace to win and I knew that at that point Heikki was holding the others up. So the four or five laps after the drive- through, before I had to take my regular