MARK WEB­BER

F1 Racing (UK) - - MY LIFE IN PICTURES -

Famed for his no-non­sense at­ti­tude and fight­ing spirit, nine-time GP win­ner Mark Web­ber spent 12 event­ful years in F1, which took him from wrestling sub-op­ti­mal ma­chin­ery at Mi­nardi and Jaguar to pro­vid­ing adult su­per­vi­sion at a fledg­ling Red Bull. And then came that com­bustible part­ner­ship with Se­bas­tian Vet­tel. Never short of an opin­ion, here he takes us on a photographic tour of his ca­reer…

Bri­tish For­mula 3, 1997 RAC­ING ON A SHOE­STRING

I still have a lot of fond mem­o­ries of this year, but my dad Al and I were scratch­ing around for money. We cer­tainly knew the price of a pint of milk. For ex­am­ple, we ques­tioned whether we should in­sure the car for the next race. I didn’t think I’d go off the road, but if I did, by smash­ing an F3 car up I’d sud­denly find my­self £45k in the red. All of th­ese things were stress­ful be­cause I was ul­ti­mately ac­count­able.

I had peo­ple who be­lieved in me, but I still had to de­liver. There were drivers in the pit­lane who would turn up in their BMW M5s and that was fuel on the fire for me – I wanted to beat those pricks. They weren’t get­ting into the cock­pit with the stress I had. The drivers who had a lot of money, you could see the fire wasn’t there. They could af­ford to smash up their cars.

2 Benet­ton launch, 2001 FIRST DAY AT THE OF­FICE

Look­ing at this picture, Fer­nando and I def­i­nitely need to get to the gym – we’re prob­a­bly car­ry­ing an ex­tra 5kg each here. And Flavio… you can see what a flam­boy­ant char­ac­ter he was even then. In all of th­ese pic­tures, I’m try­ing to make my­self look small be­cause Flavio was al­ways wor­ry­ing about my size and whether I was too tall for the car. He was a tough taskmas­ter – there’s no doubt about that. He wanted us to per­form and he wanted us to de­liver and there’s a trun­k­load of podi­ums amassed be­tween us there. This was a huge mo­ment for me, to not have to look for spon­sor­ship any more and to be paid for my ser­vices. Aus­tralian Grand Prix, 2002 HOME HERO­ICS As the race went on, the Mi­nardi was not healthy at all. The diff was spin­ning up and the fuel cap wasn’t open­ing at the pit­stops, which was linked to the pit-lim­iter. It was all a bit of a clus­ter re­ally. Team boss Paul Stod­dart told me on the grid that if I could get the car home, it would be sen­sa­tional, since it was a mas­sive crowd. It was my first grand prix and I had no lack of mo­ti­va­tion.

With about six laps to go Mika Salo was com­ing up quickly be­hind me in the Toy­ota, but when he ar­rived I said to my­self: “I’m go­ing to make it re­ally hard for him.” It was el­bows out and he spun as he at­tempted to pass. I looked in my mir­rors and thought: ‘Beau­ti­ful!’

I was em­bar­rassed about go­ing up onto the podium [Web­ber fin­ished fifth] af­ter­wards, but Bernie Ec­cle­stone and pro­moter Ron Walker said we should go up any­way and they’d pay the fines. The crowd went bal­lis­tic! It was a very spe­cial day.

Brazil­ian Grand Prix, 2003 HAV­ING A SMASH­ING TIME

I moved to Jaguar and the ze­ros in my salary changed: it was se­ri­ous and I knew I had a job to do. My team­mate An­to­nio Piz­zo­nia had a great ju­nior ca­reer and was hot mus­tard, but he strug­gled in F1. So, I built the team around my­self, and they looked to the guy who was quick­est.

This crash looks more spec­tac­u­lar than it was be­cause the im­pact was pretty low. We were quick all week­end, but we ran long on the in­ter­me­di­ates. By the end of the race there was no tread left and the tyre was get­ting colder. I got on the damp stuff with the right rear and lost the car. It was a big shunt, and then Fer­nando ar­rived, hit the tyre and had an even big­ger im­pact front-on.

I went back to my physio and he asked how I was feel­ing. I eye-balled him and bashed out 50 press-ups. He said ‘all good’ and we headed for the air­port to come home. There wasn’t much of a check-up back then.

Monaco Grand Prix, 2005 HEART OVER HEAD

Driv­ing for Wil­liams wasn’t as en­joy­able as it was for Jaguar or Red Bull. I was as frus­trated as any­one: you want the team you work for to be the best one. Pa­trick Head and Frank Wil­liams were the rea­son I’d gone there and I had so much re­spect for what they’d achieved. But my heart ruled my head.

Juan Pablo Mon­toya had taken Wil­liams’ last win in Brazil in 2004, whereas Re­nault hadn’t had the suc­cess up to that point. But it’s Re­nault I should have de­cided to go with. It was on the ta­ble for me to be Fer­nando’s team­mate, which would have been in­ter­est­ing – although not all plain sail­ing, I’m sure.

At that time, Wil­liams had just lost BMW and a num­ber of other spon­sors, and aero­dy­nam­i­cally they had never re­cov­ered from los­ing Adrian Newey. It’s al­ways about peo­ple. The wind­tun­nel doesn’t go bad on its own; it needs the right peo­ple to press the but­tons.

I got my first podium with Wil­liams at Monaco, but we were nowhere near the re­sults we wanted. I just wasn’t en­joy­ing this For­mula 1 thing. At Jaguar I’d get there early and leave late, but at Wil­liams I didn’t en­joy go­ing to work.

Ger­man Grand Prix, 2009 FAST – AND FU­RI­OUS

Red Bull was such a young team in those days, but Flavio as­sured me they would be suc­cess­ful even­tu­ally. Firstly I was fu­ri­ous that I’d lost the Bri­tish Grand Prix the week­end before be­cause I felt that was my event. Seb [Vet­tel] got pole and won it, so I aimed to win in Ger­many. At that race I got a drive-through penalty after touch­ing Rubens [Bar­richello] off the line, but I came back and won. It had been over 20 years be­tween Aus­tralians win­ning grands prix.

It was funny be­cause Dad came to that race and he’d lost a tooth the night before, which I didn’t know about. He’s pretty good with his teeth – since he can eat, my dad – but all the pho­tos from that week­end are hilarious with the front peg he’d lost that day.

Bri­tish Grand Prix, 2010 “NOT BAD FOR A NUM­BER-TWO DRIVER”

That San­tander flame’s in a good spot, isn’t it? Burn­ing my arse… Yeah, the team got a bit of a spray from me on Sat­ur­day night. And Sun­day night. There were two front wings on Fri­day and, as we know, the pre­ferred front wing went on Seb’s car. It wasn’t as though Seb was 30 points down the road; I was ahead of him, so I thought: ‘What’s go­ing on here?’

I first beat him in qual­i­fy­ing to get pole and made a good start, which wasn’t one of my strengths. If I look back on it, my starts cost me a world ti­tle. It was one of my flaws, and piv­otal things like that made the en­vi­ron­ment a real pres­sure cooker. In the race, it was pretty straight­for­ward. It was a very, very good day – not bad for a num­ber-two driver! A good party and bril­liant crowd.

Malaysian Grand Prix, 2013 WHEN IT’S OVER, IT’S OVER

This press con­fer­ence was one of the tough­est I’ve been in. As we’ve seen with Seb, he can get torn be­tween what he’d like to do and what he does do – be­tween his heart and his head. There’s a lot of his­tory be­tween us that goes back to Tur­key 2009, and also a year later when we crashed into each other again there. Then there was Brazil 2012 when he was go­ing for the cham­pi­onship and was dis­ap­pointed that I didn’t give him more room at Turn 1.

Here the call came that the race was off, but then he was still com­ing at me like a train. He passed me, but I’d pretty much made a de­ci­sion at that point that I was go­ing to Porsche – I’d checked out. He apol­o­gised on the podium but there had been a lot of heat over the ra­dio. Then I found my­self deal­ing with [Red Bull owner] Di­et­rich Mates­chitz on the phone – and it was all a shit sand­wich re­ally. That was a bad press con­fer­ence; no one was cel­e­brat­ing.

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