x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

'Incredible day' for winner Webber

The Red Bull driver triumphs in Germany and his first success in F1 comes just nine months after breaking a leg when hit by a car.

Mark Webber punches the air in front of his Red Bull mechanics after winning the German Grand Prix, the first F1 win of his career.
Mark Webber punches the air in front of his Red Bull mechanics after winning the German Grand Prix, the first F1 win of his career.

Mark Webber made history yesterday as he claimed his first win in Formula One - just nine months after his campaign had been in jeopardy after breaking a leg in an accident in Australia. The Australian overcame being given a pitlane drive-through for a collision at the start with Rubens Barrichello to triumph at the German Grand Prix ahead of his Red Bull-Renault teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

It was a win at the 130th attempt for Webber, who now takes the record for most races before claiming a triumph, the previous mark being held at 123 by Barrichello, and he said: "It's an incredible day." Webber's participation this season had been in doubt after he suffered a broken leg after being struck by a car while taking part in a fitness challenge in Tasmania. But he bounced back to be fit for the start of the season and his efforts were finally rewarded at the Nurburgring as he became the first Australian since Alan Jones in 1981 to win a race.

"It was a difficult winter, Sebastian [Vettel] showed in winter testing what the car could do, so that kept my motivation very high when I was hurting a lot with all the rehab. I had great people around me to recover from all the injuries I had, and the team have been incredibly patient with me as well," he said. The only drama for Webber came when he was penalised by the race stewards for making contact with Barrichello going down to the first corner following the start.

Of the incident he said: "I lost Rubens completely at the start. I thought he was gone a little bit to the left so I went to the right and banged into him. That's not normally my style and I got a drive-through penalty for that, so had to recover. My engineer kept me calm and I pushed as hard as I could when I needed to, so it's a great day." Webber is now back in the championship hunt, 22.5 points adrift of championship leader Jenson Button, who could only finish fifth in his Brawn. Felipe Massa finished third for Ferrari.

gcaygill@thenational.ae