Mark dominated the Brazilian Grand Prix to take the seventh win of his career and his second at Interlagos. He came home 17 seconds ahead of his Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
“It was a very positive way to end the year,” said Mark. “It was my second win at the track, following my victory in ’09, and I put in a pretty tasty drive. I’d like to dedicate the win to Bob Woods, a close family friend, who’s very ill at the moment. This win is for him.”
Mark started the race from second place following a fabulous scrap with Vettel for pole. He then carried that competitive pace into the race.
“I had a very, very close fight with Sebastian [Vettel] for pole position on Saturday,” said Mark. “We pushed each other extremely hard, which made it a good challenge and very exciting. “In the race I was strong in the middle and back part of the stints, which was good. I did a three-stop strategy and didn’t have any nervous moments, except when Fernando [Alonso] took some time out of me around the first pitstop. I had a bit of traffic on my out-lap, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
Mark’s afternoon was made easier when Vettel’s car began to suffer from a gearbox problem. That took away any immediate pressure and allowed Mark to enjoy the closing laps of the race, in which he took his seventh fastest lap of the year. “I was a bit disappointed that Sebastian had a gearbox issue because it would have been nice to race him wheel-to-wheel,” said Mark. “But that’s motorsport. You’ve got to take the rub of the green when you can. We’ve all been on the receiving end of that sometimes.”
The 25-point haul for victory saw Mark secure third place in the drivers’ championship, one point ahead of Alonso. It was a just reward after a sometimes-demanding season.
“People asked me after the race if I felt a sense of relief at taking my first win of the year,” he said. “The answer’s yes because we all compete to win, but there were some positive things even before Brazil. Look at my performance in Abu Dhabi: given the damage we had on the car, I was very pleased with my pace there. “Winning in F1 is a team effort and everyone on my car, and particularly my engineers Gavin Ward and Ciaron Pilbeam, richly deserved this victory. They’ve worked their nuts off all year, during what’s been a pretty trying season at times and it was good to get the win for them.”
Earlier in the weekend Mark had collected the DHL award for the highest number of race fastest laps over the course of the season. He already had an unassailable six fastest laps to his name before the final round but couldn’t resist the temptation of adding a seventh on the final lap of the race.. The F1 season might now be over, but Mark still has a lot to do before putting his feet up over Christmas. First stop is Australia for the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge.
“I land in Hobart on Saturday night,” says Mark. “I’m really looking forward to getting there because it’ll be great to unwind and share in other people’s challenges. The participants are really going to test themselves in Tassie, while raising some good money for charity. It’ll be very rewarding to see that after all of the hard work put in by everyone involved in the Challenge.”
Mark is in Australia for five days before heading to India for the FIA prize giving and then back to Europe to do some work for Red Bull. He’ll then split his time between Australia and Europe for the rest of the winter, before concentrating on the job again in February.
“Thanks to all of my fans for your continued support this year,” says Mark. “We’ll come back stronger in 2012!”