Over 12 years in F1, Mark Webber won nine Grands Prix and came within a few points of winning the world title. But if he hadn’t been racing against the stars of the current generation – the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso – he believes he would never have reached those heights.
In an extremely candid conversation with Tom Clarkson on this week’s episode of Beyond The Grid, the official F1 podcast presented by Bose, Webber concedes that he was extremely ‘intense’ throughout his career in the top flight, possibly to his detriment, but he says it’s much easier for him to reflect on why now that he’s hung up his helmet.
“When I was racing I believed that I was on this one way journey to maximise my potential and get everything I could out of myself,” he said. “I’d come a long way from Australia, I’d invested so much of the level of talent I had. You sort of feel that it’s absolutely now or never in car racing because it’s a big individual sport.
“There were sections of my profession that didn’t come naturally to me like being fast. I was fast, but when you get to the last few guys, when we’re talking about Seb and Lewis and Fernando and Michael [Schumacher] and JB [Jenson Button], I was so, so happy to have hung out with that generation of drivers because they took me to a level that I never would have gone to myself.”
Expanding on the topic of his rivals during the episode, Webber reserves particular praise for Alonso, describing the Spaniard as ‘a brilliant, brilliant racing driver’. Former team mate Vettel’s skills are also put under the Webber microscope in what is a wide-ranging and, as you might expect, wholly honest and direct conversation...
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