Aston Clinton racer Mark Webber finished second at the British Grand Prix to seal a fitting swansong at his ‘home-from-home’ after announcing his retirement last week.
Webber was just 0.7secs behind winner Nico Rosberg at nearby Silverstone in what the Aussie describes as one of his favourite races.
And it shows in the stats with Webber’s stats reading two wins, two seconds and third place at the track in the last five years.
The 36-year-old, who is leaving F1 to drive supercars for Porsche at the end of the season, says his final British Grand Prix will ‘always be memorable’ after he fought back from 15th place after lap one.
Webber was fourth on the grid after qualifying but a terrible start saw him run to 15th and he collected a damaged wing at the end of lap one for his troubles.
But the Aussie veteran used fresh rubber to complete what had already been an impressive resurgence which was rewarded with a place on the podium.
“I don’t know what happened at the start,” Webber said.
“We’ve been really good away from the line in the last few races, but when the lights went out I went backwards today.
“I haven’t got a clue why that happened and the situation was made worse by contact with (Romain) Grosjean at the first corner, which damaged the front wing and dropped me way down.”
A mix of good strategy and a tenacious drive from Webber saw him climb steadily up the order throughout the race.
He was back in the top 10 by lap eight and benefited from several Safety Car periods to be within striking distance of the lead with 10 laps to go.
“It was one of the best strategies we’ve done,” says Mark.
“But there’s no doubt we were helped by the Safety Cars. I was praying for a Safety Car, but no-one wants them for the reasons that they were occurring (tyre failures).
“When you have tyre failures like that, you know you could be next and that you’re playing Russian Roulette. But I still made the best of the Safety Cars and when the race went green for the final time I was lying fifth and ready to challenge the cars in front.
“I was happy with my performance and you should never take finishing high up for granted. I enjoyed racing in front of the British fans – they’ve always given me a lot of support over the years and it’s always been a real highlight to race at Silverstone.”
Living just down the road from the track, Webber was able to get home early after the race and enjoy what was the hottest day of the year in England.
“I’ll chill-out,” Webber said.
“And I might even enjoy a glass of red wine. I’ll have time to reflect on a good weekend.”
With the German Grand Prix taking place this weekend, the Aussie will now turn his attention to the Nurburgring – scene of his first grand prix victory in 2009.
“I’m very much looking forward to the next race,” Webber said.
“I like the Nurburgring; it’s a very technical circuit, but one that’s satisfying to drive when you get it right.
“Mercedes are going to be strong there, but so should we. It should be another exciting weekend.”
Webber dominated the headlines in the build-up to the race with the sudden if not shock announcement of his decision to leave F1 for the World Endurance Championship next season.
He will joing Thame’s Jonny Kane and former Aylesbury racer Danny Watts, who drive for Strakka, in the WEC after 11 years in F1.
Webber’s future at Red Bull had been the subject of much speculation after the much-publicised fall out with teammate Seb Vettel over the “multi-21” saga at the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this season.
The German defied team orders to pass Webber for the lead before going on to claim victory leaving the Aussie incandescent.
Speaking about his move to Porsche, Webber said: “I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula 1.
“Porsche will undoubtedly set itself very high goals.
“I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world.”