BARCELONA, (Reuters) – Mark Webber’s dogs will be hearing all about the Spanish Grand Prix after a win yesterday that the Red Bull driver ranked alongside his emotional first in Formula One.
The dog-loving Australian had secured pole position at a circuit which has rewarded the fastest qualifier with victory for a decade now.
“I left home the other day and said to my dogs `hopefully boys I will bring home quite a big chunk of points for you guys’,” Webber said after qualifying on Saturday.
The 33-year-old was as good as word at the Circuit de Catalunya, cruising to the chequered flag 24 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s double world champion Fernando Alonso.
Apart from having to cope with a head wind off the line, Webber was completely untroubled as he ticked off the laps towards his third career win and first of the year.
“It was a special victory. The first one is good but this one is right up there with it,” he said after throwing his helmet to the crowd, most of them in Alonso’s Ferrari red.
“I said to some people that when I win a race this year I will do something different, so it was nice to throw my helmet into the crowd and give a present back to the fans because they don’t always get the best treatment in Formula One,” he said.
“I had to work very hard yesterday, not that you don’t ever when you are at the front in Formula One, but it was a crucial pole.
“I felt very good in the car. The car wasn’t easy at the start but it was always nice to see the gap going away and that helps. It gave me good confidence from there and off we went.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, whose other driver Sebastian Vettel finished third after losing the front left brakes 15 laps from the finish, praised the Australian for a perfect weekend.
“It was an absolutely immaculate race by Mark, problem free from start to finish,” he told reporters.
“He has been sensationally quick all weekend and this was a fitting result.”
Webber’s two previous wins came with Red Bull last season in Germany and Brazil, the latter win completely eclipsed by Briton Jenson Button winning the title, and he said he had still not been able to rest easy.
“It felt like the longest grand prix I’ve ever done,” he said. “With the other victories there has been a bit more going on as I wasn’t always in the lead. But today was all about watching the lap board go down…and it just takes forever.”
Webber was also quick to praise his British-based team for their work rate and the hours put in to get the cars ready after their delayed return from China, with flights disrupted by the volcanic ash cloud in Europe.
“A lot of people were out of position for a long, long time…there was a bit of a knock-on effect of people being stuck out there behind schedule, getting back into the rhythm,” he explained.
“And some astronomical hours really…It’s good that we’re run by Red Bull because I think it keeps the guys awake because their eyes are popping out of their heads because of the hours that they’ve done.”