The above photo alone deserves this story of Mark Webber’s great memories of racing at Silverstone. The Australian, known for his True Grit, won the British Grand Prix twice in 2010 and in 2012, the latter was also his final Formula 1 victory.
Webber was a stalwart of the Red Bull team during its early years, the blue-eyed boy of billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz [For those who know, in an Enzo-Gilles kind of way] and spent more than half of his F1 career with the team.
F1 Stats show that the Australian, lined up for Red Bull for 129 Grand Prix starts, in which Webber scored all of his F1 victories and all but one of his 42 podiums. While his longevity with RBR was admirable as the team’s powerful consultant Helmut Marko was not a fan at all, but had to tolerate Mark because of big boss Mateschitz.
Looking back on his times at the former WWII airfield, Webber went on a journey back in time to when F1 was a distant dream for the man from Down Under: “My memories of Silverstone go back to 1995.
“When I first landed from Australia as an 18-year-old I wanted to go to there because it was the most famous race track in the world. I went straight from Heathrow to the gates to have a look at it. And the sheer scale of the venue – with all the racing teams set up around it – was awesome.
“I have lots of positive memories from racing there. I won at Silverstone in sportscars, in Formula Ford, in Formula Two – which was Formula 3000 back then – and I also managed a couple of victories in Formula One, too,” recalled Webber.
Not bad for a number two driver
“I always enjoyed racing there,” declared Webber of his racing days at Silverstone. “The atmosphere of the crowd is incredible and they are bloody knowledgeable. You really feel that as a driver. It is a phenomenal circuit and one that should never be taken off the calendar. It is the embodiment of what F1 is all about.”
As for his famous win at the 2010 British Grand Prix, Webber recalled: “This was one of the biggest memories of my life. There was a lot of tension going into that race because of the contradictions on the equipment I felt I was receiving compared to my Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
“I had a close start with Seb in Turn 1. He then made contact with Lewis, got a puncture – which I was heartbroken about – and after that, I was racing Lewis to the flag. It was not a regulation victory – you always have to earn them and do the work – but I managed to have a clean day in front of a full house.
“I said to the team over the radio: Not bad for a number two driver. I just thought I would let them know I wasn’t a bad driver,” explained Webber.
A career that spanned 11 seasons in F1, ended in 2013 whereupon Webber joined Porsche in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) from 2014 to 2016. With them, he became the 2015 WEC World Champion with teammates Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.