BRAZILIAN GP – QUALIFYING
Car 1 SEBASTIAN VETTEL, Position: POLE POSITION, (3rd Practice – P17, 1:31.857)
“It was a surprise to get that time today. I was happy after Q3, it took a long time for us to get out as there was a lot of rain at the end of Q2. There was too much water on track, which is a shame for the people in the grandstands, but if there’s too much risk of aquaplaning, it’s better to wait. We then got out and I was surprised by how much the water had cleared. I went straight onto intermediates and was able to get a very good lap in straight away. I tried to beat that and got close, but it wasn’t enough. I was very happy to hear I got pole, I even mixed up Spanish and Portuguese on the radio! Hopefully we get a good chance tomorrow. We only had little practice in these conditions, but we still got the car where we wanted it, so I’m very happy.”
Car 2 MARK WEBBER, Position: 4th, (3rd Practice – P1, 1:27.891)
“We are where we deserved to be I think, as I didn’t feel that quick in qualifying. The car felt slow and I was struggling for grip. It was tricky for all of us, but we’re on the second row and we can still do something from there. It’s tricky to get it all together in those conditions, I wasn’t too comfortable in Q1 and Q2 on the intermediate tyres, but that’s the way it goes. There’s not much more to add really than it was tricky, it’s easier to be a lot further back in those conditions and we can still do something from fourth, so let’s see tomorrow.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER: “A very difficult three qualifying sessions with changeable weather. It was a matter of navigating your way through the first two sessions to get into Q3, which then started off very wet. Once they went out, both drivers elected to change to intermediates tyres very early, which gave them three laps each. Sebastian produced a stunning lap on his first, to claim his ninth pole of the year by an impressive margin. Mark backed that up in his final Formula One qualifying session to start on the second row of the grid to endorse two very strong starting positions for the last race of the year. It’s incredible to think that Mark will be heading out for his final Formula One race tomorrow. He has been with us for many years and his career has spanned 214 race starts, which will become 215 tomorrow. He’s already achieved nine wins, 41 podiums and 13 pole positions in Formula One; he’s a tough competitor and I’ve no doubt he will be looking to add to his impressive win tally tomorrow.”
(Renault) THIERRY SALVI: “It was a hard exercise with the wet conditions today. Tuning the car to be able to extract the most of the wet tyres was again a challenge. I think the team managed the qualy timing in a very good way and was able to do a lot of laps in all sessions. Seb showed again how comfortable he is driving the car, even with heavy rain. Let’s see how things go tomorrow. It’s the last race for the RS27 so it would be good to end it on a high if we can.
MARK WEBBER: 215 and bowing out
After a dozen seasons, and so far, nine wins, 32 other podium finishes, 13 pole positions and over 1000 championship points, Mark Webber is about to race in F1 for the final time. It all seems a long way from the weekend when he made his F1 debut, for Minardi, in 2002. For Mark, though, the memory of his first race and the emotional impact of this weekend’s last grand prix are very vivid indeed, as he explains…
Australian Grand Prix, 2002
After Qualifying 18th, Mark found himself eighth after a Turn One pile-up and climbed to fifth in the closing stages…
I just wanted the car to finish. I remember [Minardi boss] Paul Stoddard saying before the race “if you just finish the race we’ll be proud” and then he came on the radio and said: “under no circumstances should you let [Mika] Salo past”. He was pushing me hard for fifth and that was the difference between one and two points. The diff was gone in the car; it was completely broken. But somehow it stayed together. Then Salo arrived on me. That was the thing that surprised me I think. I knew he was coming, I knew he was in a quicker car, the Toyota, but still I was saying to myself, “nah, I’ll be alright. When he arrives on me I’ll just do what I can to keep him behind.” I was pretty composed. I was overwhelmed by the result. How the hell was that possible? I think I used up all my credits in Melbourne in that first race because I never got on the podium again. I got on the podium every other place in the world but not there. It was incredible.
Brazilian Grand Prix, 2013
Infiniti Red Bull Racing
Tomorrow will be Mark’s 215th and final grand prix start. It’s going to be emotional but , he says, it’s time for a change…
I think I’ll be fine until Sunday. That will be a little bit tricky as that will be the last time, the last day at work at this level. It’s a big thing. I’ve been through a lot of emotional phases in my career. Obviously I’m super serious about my profession most of the time and that was all encompassing for the people around me. But that’s what I believed had to happen at the time because maybe I did not have the most absolute natural flair and talent, but I knew that if I grafted and worked hard I’d soon get awesome results. But I also smashed a lot of guys who had more talent than me, because they didn’t work as hard as me. I learned that about myself. How important it was to graft and just get my head down. I’ve been doing that for most of my career. There’s no career that’s on a rocket ship all the way through. There has to be adversity and testing moments. You don’t learn too much if you’re never challenged. The results I’ve had in F1 have been great but it’s about the journey as well and I’ve had an amazing journey. I would have been very happy growing up and staying in Queanbeyan because I wouldn’t have known any different. But when you start to delve into other areas of life, other places, then it really is a case of ‘wow, this is a ride’. And it was a great ride. You sometimes get more out of that than the actual results.
What did Formula One mean to me? Tricky… It was precision. It was the pinnacle.