130 Is Webber's Lucky Number: 2009 German Grand Prix
Christian Horner: Well done Mark, you're a Formula 1 race winner!
Mark Webber: Yeeeeehaaa!! Yes! Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!
To the casual observer, Mark Webber's radio transmission with team principle Christian Horner may have sounded somewhat like an over sugared minor being told they were going to see the latest Crocodile Dundee.
If you've taken even a slight interest in Webber's career however, you'd appreciate the enormity of his latest result and the significant weight that's no doubt been lifted from his shoulders. It's taken 130 races but Webber has finally won his first Grand Prix.
Webber's been on the F1 circuit for about 8 years now. Having started strongly with Paul Stoddart's Minardi team (at which time Australia thought they finally had a new F1 championship contender), all signs pointed to yes with his subsequent performance at Jaguar where he qualified a mid field car on the front row more than once.
Then came that ill-fated decision to join Williams, over Renault in 2005. Whilst Alonso went on to win two consecutive world championships, Webber suffered two years of unreliable cars, retirements and frustration, significantly devaluing his brand equity.
Although a positive move on face value, Webber's first two years at Red Bull again presented challenges. With a "sometimes quick" but mostly unreliable Newey designed car, his reputation was further salted as being strong over one lap but lacking in racecraft.
Adding to this, Webber is not the easiest of drivers to throw your energy behind and support. No racing pedigree, from a far-away land downunder with a small fan base and lacking the party boy pizzazz that many f1 drivers are known and loved for, Webber attracts little of the hype peers such as Vettel, Rosberg, Alonso and Hamilton received from their respective medias.
Speak to Webber's colleagues however, and they'll tell you it's no fluke that after 8 years he's still in F1. Webber's dogged persistence, work ethic and "no bull" approach has won the respect of many peers and given him the right to continue in the sport.
Finally now, in 2009 at the Nurburgring, Webber broke his winless drought. In true Webber style, he battled tooth and nail. After an OK start, he survived his swipe at Barichello and love tap with Hamilton (payback for Fuji 07?) on the first corner to settle in P2.
Things were almost too good to be true blue as he sat behind a much lighter Barichello, poised to overtake him for the lead in the first round of stops.
Then, (as all his fans no doubt expected), Webber's luck ran short. Webber was issued with a drive through penalty for his swipe at Barichello, effectively ending his chances of winning.
Quick thinking from the Red Bull camp saw Webber follow Barichello into the pits to take his drive through penalty. Taking advantage of the lead he and Barichello developed, Webber emerged in relatively clean air whilst Barichello emerged behind Kovalainen and Massa. Webber then banked a number of impressive times to re-build his lead to 12 seconds prior to his first of his scheduled two stops.
Webber emerged relatively unscathed in p6 and as cars came in for their first stops, he once again found himself at the front of the field and the rest is history!
Vettel drove a solid race, gaining two positions to finish second, whilst an openly surprised and grateful Massa found himself on the podium for the first time this year.
Brawn had another average race, finishing in positions five and six. The cold temperatures once again did not suit their cars which ultimately compromised their ability to challenge.
For the second time this year, Barichello openly expressed dissatisfaction at how he's being treated by Brawn. One has to question his longevity with such immature and emotive outbursts.
Lewis Hamilton was also surprisingly quick. Had he not overcooked it into turn one which lead to contact with Webber and a puncture, he would have finished strongly.
The season is definitely heating up, as we head to Hungary, no doubt Brawn is hoping the temperature does too!
Bring on Hungary!
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