Webber: I had a single opportunity to pounce and I wasn’t going to let that slip
8 July, 2012
Jul.8 (FIA) Mark Webber drove an immaculately calculated race to snatch victory at the very end of a race determined by tyre strategy, which he and is Red Bull team got spot on to claim his second Formula 1 victory at Silverstone. The Australian, who lies second in the world championship standings after nine rounds, spoke after the race.
You must be a very happy boy?
Mark Webber: Yeah! I think it was a very interesting race. I thought at the start Fernando had very good pace. A bit of strategy here and there. Obviously, Fernando started on different tyres. But never gave up, kept pushing and it didn’t really work out for Fernando at the end. It was very, very close for him so we were there to capitalise. It’s a very, very special victory for the team, just down the road, a local team, so thanks to all the guys, It’s incredible for them. And for Renault another victory for them in the UK. So I’m very proud today. Thanks to all the fans for sticking with us for the past few days, it’s been incredible.
Just how much satisfaction did that win give you?
MW: Oh, a lot. I’ve had a few now which is nice but this one is taking a little while to sink in. It didn’t look like a spectacular race maybe between Fernando and I initially, but it was one. A little strategy involved as well, particularly with ourselves, pacing the stints on the tyres, working out if it’s going to be two or three stops and how the tyres would behave in the race. Fernando starting on a different tyre and I knew he would have to run a different compound towards the end of the race as we had got the harder [more difficult] tyre out of the way at the start. I thought in the first stint that Fernando had he was in very, very good shape to probably close the win out, but it came our way in the last stint and I am absolutely over the moon, absolutely rapt. For the team, it’s local here, Wings for Life, all the photos on the car, great initiative, all that stuff, it’s a real good story. The fans here this weekend have put up with some horrendous weather but we’ve had a beautiful dry British Grand Prix. There’ll be some long trips home tonight but overall I’m very proud today. It was a very special victory as I say. I managed to get Fernando in the last few laps which was very nice and we got the win from there.
And the timing is right as well, with three races in four weekends before the break. That’s important?
MW: Ah look, we have a lot of races this year as you know. Melbourne was important, as will Brazil be. I’ve got a couple of wins now and also some consistent results as well. But we know how tight it is. I see Kimi finished ten seconds behind with fourth or fifth place or whatever, so it’s tight. As we saw with Seb, he lost a little but of time in the first stint and that can be your undoing. Sometimes I’ve had some of that medicine and it makes it hard to come back from there. So in the end you’ve got to grab these ones with both hands and I was very keen to grab with both hands today. I had a single opportunity to pounce and I wasn’t going to let that slip.
It seemed to be in the middle sector that you were particularly gaining on Fernando in those closing stages.
MW: I think Fernando, with the front left tyre, if you lose balance around this place, that sector the speed is very, very high, it’s very hard for the driver to do something. I could see that when I arrived on Fernando, reasonably close I got to see where he was struggling with his car. It was obvious that he was pushing as hard as possible but the balance wasn’t with him. That’s when you’ve got to smell the blood and you’ve got to go for it.
As you say this season will be nip and tuck but you have points every race but one, you’re the second guy to win twice – it must give you confidence that you’re going to be in the thick of this championship fight.
MW: Absolutely, I’m not low on confidence at the moment. It’s going well. I think in Barcelona we didn’t help ourselves with the strategy in qualifying to put ourselves outside the Q3 by being too optimistic about the pace of the car for that Sunday afternoon. So, overall, so far so good. We will enjoy today’s result, really soak it up. That’s what’s important. You have to remember how hard we work for these results and tomorrow morning, it’s Hockenheim. That’s what it has to be about. I think it’s a long, long season. I’m not getting too fired up about any particular championship positions at the moment. But what is for sure is that I have a nice haul of points to keep going with. I’m not sitting on 20 points trying to start my campaign from here. So it’s going well so far.
You are in second place in the championship. Now you’re ahead of Sebastian Vettel by 16 points. Will you continue to attack, or let Sebastian Vettel overtake you?
MW: Yeah. I think at Hockenheim we will let Seb through! No, honestly, I will try to give your question some decent respect. Look, it’s a championship for all of us. I’ve had a good run in the last few races. Obviously Seb had a retirement when leading Valencia so that’s the way it’s been. I’ve been there to have two very special victories so far this year, albeit in different circumstances. As I say, I would rather have the points that I have than those that some other people have. I’m not looking at who is third, fourth, fifth. I am looking at the little guy next to me and he’s going well as well, so we need to keep pushing hard.
You said that from the outside the race was not spectacular; what is the main difficulty for you during that race? Managing the tyres, the start, overtaking Fernando?
MW: Yes, understanding the pace to do and to have the range to split the race evenly, for a two stop Grand Prix. That was the main focus, to make sure that I could get to the stop lap which the guys were trying to predict me to hit, which pit stop lap they wanted me to hit, and get there with the best combination of pace and tyre life. Ultimately that is the best way to get to the chequered flag. Obviously you put a lot of faith in the pit wall. The guys are helping you to work out what level of pace you run at, and also balancing the car at the pit stops was important, working with the guys on the front wing. We made quite a big adjustment at the first stop after my first stint and then I was much happy with the car in the second and third stints.
Does today’s result make a difference to where you might drive next year, given that you’ve got number two on your cap and that seemed like a number one drive?
MW: It helps my situation to stay in Formula One. At the start of the year I didn’t have a contract, I’m pushing to get a contract for next year. Going reasonably well, got a few points, a couple of wins and I will work very hard to try and stay in Formula One next year. So, the answer is no.