Webber: I’m happy to finish on the podium in front of American fans for the last time in F1
18 November, 2013
Mark Webber scored a podium finish in his final appearnace in the United States as a Formula 1 driver, although he qualified second and managed a good start (for a change) his line into Turn 1 compromised his exit and he fell back to fourth place. He fought back to take third when the chequered flag fell at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. This is his story at the end of the day.
This is going to be your last stop here in Formula 1 at the Circuit of the Americas, so not a bad effort today, third, a podium.
Mark Webber: Yeah. Obviously pole position was very important yesterday, so I knew it was going to be important and that it would cost me a lot better result today…a little bit disappointed not to qualify better. We knew it was not going to be the easiest to get into turn one from there. We had a good launch, a good start, but then obviously we all wanted to be on the outside. I got a little bit boxed in and then I had to pass Lewis. Then it’s not easy to pass Romain. He drove very well. He was very clean on the exit of eight, nine. The DRS in the end was a little bit short on the ratios but in the end that’s how you get the ratios for the whole race. So, good job for the whole team and I’m happy to finish on the podium in front of the American fans for the last time, in Formula 1 anyway. I’ll see you next year with the Porsche.
From your point of view. Obviously starting second. The initial getaway looked fine but it then was going up the hill that you lost the initiative. I guess your race really was dictated by Qualifying yesterday to a large extent but particularly by the getaway today.
MW: Yeah, pole position yesterday was where the fight was. [It was always] going to be very difficult from there. I think we were…I was very happy with how I drove today. Got a very good start. You want to be on the outside for Turn One but Romain was already there. I think I made a very good start from the left hand side, which is not the easiest here, so we did what we could. Lewis also was on the outside for clean braking so I had to be a little bit careful with Seb on the inside. And then you’ve got to clear people and you know when you’ve got to clear people you use tyres, you use everything up. Romain drove a very good race, he was very strong in the last part of the first sector which you need to be to get out of there. It’s super-super difficult to stay close. I did what I could for most of the time but also the tyres are screaming at you for lap after lap and you have to drop back, give them a breather, go again. So, yeah, I did a pretty clean race. I think the performance and pace were very strong from my side but yesterday was when victory was made easier for Seb.
What were the different things you tried with the KERS?
MW: As usual, the Lotus is not too bad on the softer end of the range, if you like, with this tyre we qualified on. Had to do the race start, obviously I had to use the tyre to pass Lewis, so when it was time to build up towards the stop, to be patient, to go as long as possible but also knowing that Romain was covering us off, covering the move and waiting for us to pit because the Enstone guys are not rookies when it comes to strategy either. We knew we would look to have an attack on the Prime but also, as you say, moving the KERS round a lot is part of my job, to try and create more pressure. The back straight was OK to use all of it, but the key areas are eight, nine and then the hairpin. It’s not the easiest track on which to follow people, I think we saw last year, obviously Seb was in traffic with Lewis, Lewis was very quick but following all the time and couldn’t pass. It’s a challenging venue still to pass because of turn eight and nine, I think, so in the end we did what we could do. There’s not many regrets as to what we could have done differently to get the job done on Romain after that.
We have a Brazilian Grand Prix in one week, so what’s your feeling as you go into your final F1 Grand Prix?
MW: I’m looking forward to it, driving round in the middle of the race thinking ‘yes, I’m really looking forward to it because it’s time’, the enjoyment factor is there but it’s not like it was when I was at Jaguar or when I first started at Red Bull. That’s natural, that’s why the decision [to retire] gets made obviously. The category has changed quite a bit in the last few years, I’ve done what I can, done my best but when you realise there comes a point where it’s not what it once was and that’s what happens to all sportsmen and women, there’s a point when it’s a little bit different. I’ve got one week to go, I will leave the paddock very satisfied. I’ve been dealt a very good hand, very proud of what I’ve achieved. I never thought I would do that when I left Queanbeyan in Australia, to have had the results I’ve had, to have worked with the amazing people I’ve worked with, to race against amazing drivers on the best tracks in the world. I’ve learned a huge amount about myself, about everything. One week to go and go from there. It’s the next chapter when I step out of the car for the last time I will be fine with it. Back to UK Sunday night, walk the dogs on Tuesday morning.
Subbed by AJN.