The Australian picked up his first win of the season in the final race of 2011 in Sao Paulo.
Winning feeling returns for Mark Webber in Brazil
Sebastian Vettel, the Australian's Red Bull teammate, was forced to fight with a serious gearbox problem for the majority of the 71 laps, but still managed to finish second, while Jenson Button, the McLaren-Mercedes driver, came third.
Webber said the victory - his seventh career win and his first since August 2010 - was "special", but his mood appeared dampened by the manner in which he took the lead.
The Australian had started behind Vettel on the front row to complete Red Bull Racing's sixth lockout of the year and after only two laps the race had a familiar pattern with Vettel leading by more than two seconds.
However, on the 13th lap, the German was informed by his engineer that his car was in trouble and that he would need to ease off. On the 30th lap, the 24 year old moved aside to let Webber past.
"In motorsports you take them when they come," Webber said. "Yeah, it would have been nice to have a race with Sebastian all the way through, but he's had a bit of a problem.
"It's a win and a win you take for sure. The feeling is nice. I've had enough bad luck this season, but that's how motorsport goes sometimes. It's a very important win for me and the team to finish the year on a high."
Vettel likened himself to Ayrton Senna as he fought with the car, but he could not emulate the Brazilian legend's achievement in 1991 of winning at Interlagos with a damaged gearbox.
"It was a real shame, but after the season we have had, it would be over the top to be upset now," Vettel said.
"So we take second place and a one-two finish for the team. Mark did a fantastic race and absolutely deserved to win."
Webber is hoping to use the win as a springboard to a stronger season next year after coming in for criticism this term for not pushing his teammate harder.
"This is a nice little tonic going into next year," he said, adding: "I think I am going to have a stronger season than this year, that's for sure, but the bar has been set high. "