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GP Week : Issue 74
the German's youth and potential, Webber, at 33 and approaching the latter stages of his career, is far from raging against the dying of the light, he is rightly upbeat about this season: "I have generally taken each year as it comes. At the start of this year I feel better and more motivated to keep going. Once you get great results you want the races to come every weekend. You have to earn your stripes, they don't hand these drives out for free." Prior to Germany last year Webber was often, unfairly, considered an also-ran. While he could string together great Qualifying sessions, he never converted these to race distance victories. It looked as though he would end his career without ever mounting the top step of the podium. But a stream-lined Red Bull Racing which was in the process of shrugging off its reputation as the party playboys of the Paddock and becoming renowned more for its Adrian Newey-designed cars and newfound passion for ontrack rather than off-track activities gave him the chance to convert that hard work into trophies. The race after his first victory you could see the man was more relaxed, more confident and more than happy to lose the nearly tag. As he says: "When you compete at this level year in, year out and have been scratching at the surface and haven't had a victory, you are still a nearly man, but when you do win races, people know you can execute those long races and deliver." Interestingly, those Newey cars are built around Webber first before being scaled to fit the shorter Sebastian Vettel. This week and next Sunday in particular are special not only for Webber, but for the country as well. It was at Albert Park that Webber made his F1 debut in 2002, taking 30