Webber: Silverstone win helps my situation to stay in F1 next year
9 July, 2012
Jul.9 (Reuters) If anyone doubted Mark Webber’s desire to stay in Formula One next year, the Australian Red Bull driver – out of contract at the end of the year – made his position very clear after taking the victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday.
His second win of the season, and second career truimph at Silverstone, firmed up his title challenge and cut Fernando Alonso’s overall lead for Ferrari to 13 points with 11 rounds remaining which prompted him to comment,
“It helps my situation to stay in Formula One. 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,” Webber told reporters after his ninth F1 career win.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said the two sides will sit down in the coming weeks to discuss the future but has given the impression the decision would be as much Webber’s as the team’s. The 35-year-old’s recent contracts have been one-year extensions, agreed at around the mid-point of each season, but he has also been linked in media speculation to what could be a vacancy at Ferrari to replace Brazilian Felipe Massa, although Massa’s recent improvement in form has quietened most of the rumour mongering.
On Sunday, with the sun shining after days of rain and traffic chaos around the rural English circuit, Webber was very much savouring the moment. It was fitting that Jackie Stewart, the retired triple champion, should have interviewed him on the podium afterwards since Red Bull’s racing lineage goes back through Jaguar to the Stewart team founded by the Scot in 1997. Webber was, as Stewart surmised, a “very happy boy.”
He had woken up in his own bed and started the day taking his dogs for a run. Silverstone, a short drive away from his home and from the team’s factory in Milton Keynes, has always been a circuit close to his heart.
“I love racing everywhere but here it’s extra special…I say, I won my first race here in ’96 in a Formula Ford so the love affair continues,” he said.
Starting second on the grid, alongside Alonso, Webber had to wait until six laps before the end to make his move and dash the Spaniard’s hopes as the Ferrari’s tyres lost performance and Red Bull’s strategy of running the soft Pirelli tyre option in the first stint and keep the harder tyres for the second and third stint paid off.
“You’ve got to grab these ones with both hands and I was very keen to grab with both hands today,” he said. “I had a single opportunity to pounce and I wasn’t going to let that slip. 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.”
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