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Webber looks back on a day of dreams 04 Mar 2003

The media swarm around local boy Mark Webber (AUS) Jaguar.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2003

Whatever happens in his career, Mark Webber will never forget his Formula One debut in Melbourne in March 2002, as he raced home to a glorious fifth place for the beleaguered Minardi team.

"A lot of people say 'won,'" he said. "It's the same emotion. We might have as well won the race because people were acting the same as if we did.

"It was a really special day for me because of all the work and energy that went into trying to get my dream to drive in Formula One and, being my first race, I just wanted to finish. I went into the first turn, and I thought, 'God, if I go out now or the car breaks or something, this is going to be such a bad opening to the season.' But we got through, and soon we were like sixth, then fifth, and I felt, 'God,' this unbelievable.'

"I was just really worried about the car and couldn't believe we just kept doing lap after lap. So the pressure - what actually did go through my mind after the crash at the start - was that if we went out in two or three laps it wouldn't be a good race for the fans, because the race had been wrecked by the first corner and if I went out they'd been ripped off. But we soon changed that.

"Then at the end it just happened, and it was just a fairy tale."