Webber: The greatest day of my life today
16 May, 2010
May.16 (www.yallaf1.com) Monaco Grand Prix winner Mark Webber spoke at the FIA Post race press conference after the podium ceremony. Here are highlights of his answers to questions asked him during the interview.
You are leading the World Championship and you are a Monaco winner. How does it feel?
Mark Webber: Absolutely incredible and for sure the greatest day of my life today. To win here is a very, very special day. It started yesterday with qualifying when it went well but this place is such a test for two hours. I had a lot of work to do. The track was changing quite a lot during the grand prix as well, we had backmarkers and a lot of safety cars so we were tested quite often. Getting restarts and tyre pressures right – all the basics that could test you were in front of us today, so very, very rewarding win and just absolutely elated. To join Ayrton Senna and those guys around here is great. It’s a real Blue Riband event.
Four safety cars and a lot of rebuilding of leads and you almost got involved in a pile-up of backmarkers at the end of the race.
Webber: Yeah, I was on the radio and they said look you have got Jarno (Trulli) and I think it was (Karun) Chandhok in front with a few laps to go. I was nursing the car quite a lot in the last part of the race but with backmarkers you can lose a lot of time when you catch them. I saw Jarno going for a lunge down the inside of Rascasse and I thought ‘what the hell is going to happen here’ and they interlocked wheels, he went flying in the air and I just hoped I had some options to go on the inside and sure enough I did. I was just really hoping that Chandhok was okay as it looked like the car was around the head area and I thought ‘God, now we have another safety car but let’s finish it under the safety car so I don’t have to worry about doing one lap after the restart’. It was good obviously as both of us could just cross the line quite straightforward and get a very good one-two for the team.
Red Bull have been on top speed-wise throughout this year but it has taken until now to get on top of both championships. Where do you go from here?
Webber: Well, continue to work hard. We are not here because we have been slacking. The effort has gone in from two-and-a-half-years ago. This is not just the sake of the last two weeks work. This has been a continuous effort off the back of RB5 into RB6. Fantastic continuity within the team. Rob Marshall, Adrian Newey, it’s impossible to mention everyone. The cars were very reliable for us today. Very, very good for both of us and we have just got to keep going to each venue. Of course it would be nice if it was the last race today but it is not. We have got a lot of work to do. We are very optimistic for the future and we had the maximum we could do today. It is the best result we could get and we need to try and make that as often as possible.
This ranks pretty high. Two victories in eight days don’t come better than that and one of them in Monaco.
Webber: You are absolutely right. I said in the last press conference that this is the greatest day of my life. To win in Monaco is a dream for any Formula One driver. It is a very, very special event and every Formula One victory is special but to win on the streets here fair and square off the pole, no attrition again, that’s nice and control the race from the front. To join such great winners here is a real special moment for me. I was reminded yesterday that Jack Brabham won here in 1959, so it has been a while for the Australians. A special day.
Four safety car periods. Did that upset the concentration or did it allow you to rest? How did that affect you?
Webber: I certainly would not have wanted them. It is nice when you get the buffer and work on the gaps and then it is neutralised by the safety car which is a bit frustrating. I was totally open to that happening around here at some stage and I thought after the first one, which happened after the first lap, I thought ‘okay.’ Then we get up to the first stop and immediately after that it started. Never ideal to have a break-up in the rhythm for anyone that is leading the race. It gives the people who are hunting you more of a chance when they come back up on your tail. Apart from the manhole cover one, that one I didn’t really understand, as I did not see any problem but obviously the boys, Charlie (Whiting) and the guys saw something there which we needed the safety car out for one lap. But for the others we needed them as they were decent shunts. It was an absolutely faultless day except for the start which didn’t go exactly according to plan but it was good that I did it here at Monaco instead of last weekend in Barcelona as it is a long run there and it wasn’t the best start but I think I know why. After that it was basically counting the laps off. It was also a relief, to be honest, that Seb got Robert as I thought Robert would have been very, very strong today. It was good that we got a one-two for the team. It was the ultimate result for us.
That safety car period was for a loose drain cover at turn three.
Webber: I was told that but I didn’t really… it was probably in the kerb. The guys probably had a good visual on it and saw that they needed to address something but from the cockpit I didn’t see anything.
Both you Red Bull drivers had relatively late stops for tyres; were they good right to the end?
Webber: Yeah, fine, absolutely fine. You don’t go crazy on them at the beginning, you give them a good chance to keep going. I’ve got a good feeling, had a pace. We’re learning a lot at each race, we know how to go about that. Obviously with the first safety car it bunched the field up a bit, so we knew that the stops would happen a bit later than we probably anticipated before. It was just a nice situation, obviously, with a bit of a buffer as well to be able to pit, to have a bit more of an option when you want to pit instead of having more attention around you with competitors.
Having been fairly restrained last Sunday evening, you’ve got a fair amount of celebrating to do tonight.
Webber: Well, I think it’s going to be a pretty dangerous night tonight for Red Bull. It’s not a back-to-back race and I think the ash cloud will cause a lot of people to stay here as well. I’m predicting some very bad headaches in the morning, that’s for sure. The team deserves it, there’s no question about it. You have to enjoy your victories. At the end of the day we’ve got some bigger goals to achieve this year but this is a very, very unique day for the team. Last year at Silverstone, we had a one-two which is great for a British… obviously it’s Austrian but there’s also a lot of British influence in the team. There were a lot of firsts last year and to get a one-two in the Principality for the team… sensational.
You already won in Monaco, nine years ago. What’s the difference and did you believe in 2001 that you could win the great race?
Webber: Well, I said to the people who know me well last night that when I was on pole position here last time, I shared a room with Anne, my father and someone else. There were a lot of us in the room because we didn’t have much money to all stay in a room. But my father was snoring all night and I got no sleep, so in the middle of the night I got the mattress and threw it upside down and said ‘I’m on pole position tomorrow, I have to sleep.’ It was over there. I think it was an old brothel where we were staying. I said I’d had a much better night’s sleep this night, when I was on pole. My dad can really cut some wood, he can really snore like hell. To win here in any category is a special day. We had Daniel (Ricciardo) win today, so it’s the second time we’ve had the Australian national anthem playing here, he drove very well in the World Series race. And yeah, my F3000 race was nice here but obviously this is the biggest Formula One race you can probably win. There are some classics, obviously Spa, a few real classics but this is right up there. Yeah, winning but obviously at a higher level.
It looks like the fight for the championship will be between you and Sebastian. Do you agree?
Webber: Two races ago everyone was saying someone else. In two races time they might be saying someone else again. I understand you guys have to write stuff but no one knows, there is no one who knows who is going to be in the hunt with a few races to go. Sure, we have a very good foundation, we’re in a good position, we’re leading both championships I hear. Obviously Seb and I are equal or close on points or whatever. We’ve got some different venues coming up, keep in mind that engines are going to come into play in the back part of the championship, there’s lots of things to roll into this situation yet. It’s a good position to be in. I would obviously rather be here than forty points behind. We have a good tally at the moment but I don’t think it’s between two guys, too early.
If you could be the new Jenson Button for 2011, an experienced driver who gets to win and be better and better in his older days.
Webber: As I’ve always said, in any sport you do, you can talk as much as you want but actions speak louder than words, so you need to do the talking in any sport which is in your activity, so clearly Jenson had a very good year last year, we all know that. He was written off in seasons before, through lots of different reasons here and there. But I still feel I’m driving pretty well. The fire is still burning pretty solidly inside. I’m not 21, of course. I would love to be 21 again but in the end, I don’t think I’m losing too much by being a bit older. Of course I have some wisdom and it’s not holding me back too much. So I’ll keep going.
People always talk about momentum being the key to winning championships in any sport. Do you feel that you now have momentum on your side and does that give you a lot of confidence?
Webber: Oh, for sure I’m not low on confidence at the moment. It’s two races we’ve done well. If you’re doing this three or four, five times, in terms of good results in a row, podiums and whatnot, then for sure that is a good run. We were on the back foot in Shanghai, it wasn’t a good race for us, so you can look back at that and say we really needed the result in Barcelona and then this one was a very unique challenge for us in terms of a very specific circuit. To be honest, we thought it was going to be a very, very tight fight, which it was, it wasn’t particularly straightforward. Obviously there were a few other guys involved. I think if Fernando had had a normal weekend he probably would have been around a bit more as well. Let’s go to Turkey, do that and just keep chipping away. You know as well as anyone, Edd, that things can change very quickly in this game. I’ve been round the block long enough to know that as well, so feet on the ground.