With Australia's cricketers failing to dislodge England's last wicket pair amid 'glovegate' in Cardiff, and the national speedway team being forced into Thursday's World Cup repercharge event by Poland, Mark Webber's victory at the Nurburgring on Sunday provided a surprisingly lonely beacon of sporting success.

A patriot, despite spending most of his time in the UK, Webber was delighted to have become only the third Australian to win in F1, and happier still to have shaken the monkey from his back that was beginning to attract comparisons with the sport's 'Mr Unlucky', Chris Amon.

"It was very, very important for me to win because not many Australian drivers have reached F1, and there are even fewer that have been successful," he admitted, having watched the national flag intently during his podium ceremony, "For me to win a grand prix and have the career that I've had - a long career - is fantastic. For sure, I wanted better results, but this year has been very, very special and now we are able to say that we've won a grand prix, fair and square, which is nice.

"It's a real message to the Australian people. I've always tried to represent my country as best as I can. We're a very proud sporting nation, we have done well on two wheels, on motorbikes with Mick [Doohan] and with Casey [Stoner], but the motorbikes aren't motorsport in general at world level, where we haven't been amazing. It's a great day for me and Australia and that's why it was a special one.

"I thought [about the Amon comparison] but I think, during my time at Williams, it was very tough for the motivation, and that's the hardest part of it. No one likes turning up and getting your arse kicked every weekend. That would test anyone's patience and that's why I suppose you've got to take your hat off to someone like Jenson - and maybe myself a little bit - where you're still trying to stay involved and keep your motivation high to focus on other goals to keep your drive high.

"Now it's obviously different. We can turn up at race weekends and get very, very good results. I've certainly had testing times in my career, with unreliable cars and being in a position to get results hasn't happened for whatever reason. It's happening at the moment and there was a lot of emotion [after winning on Sunday]. What happened today is not going to change my life massively, but it's a very, very important thing. I will sleep well, and everything's fine, but I'm not a different person because I've won one race. I'm just very, very happy that I've won it fair and square, that I've beaten everyone else - that's the most important thing to me."

Webber's victory completes a remarkable circle that began with him being knocked off his road bike during the Pure Tasmania adventure race that he organised and promoted each November. Compound fractures in his leg meant lengthy, and often painful, rehabilitation, and the threat of missing his home grand prix, but Webber returned during pre-season testing - albeit now admitting that the injury had hampered him somewhat - and finally, in Germany, made the most of the first clearly superior car of his career.

"It is an incredible day for me," he acknowledged, "I wanted to win so badly after Silverstone, as I thought I had a good chance there. But after pole position [at the Nurburgring], I knew I was in a good position to try and win the race. The only thing in the end that I thought was going to beat me, or test me even more, was the rain - but even that held off.

"I think I was kidding myself a little bit [about recovering from the injury]. I thought I was ready to go for winter testing, but I wasn't. It is absolutely clear that the leg was a long way from healed and it was still broken. It was just the metal holding it in place, but it has come a long way since then. Time has been a little bit on my side. I was lucky that Melbourne was put back a little bit in the calendar and a few things have gone my way so, along with having fantastic people around me like [physio] Roger [Cleary].

"We spent a lot of time together getting back and even things like walking in the swimming pool and things like that in the first part of January was very tough for me. But there is always someone worse off and I always stayed positive and I knew that, looking at the times Sebastian was doing in testing, the car was going to be quick. That gave me incredible motivation to be ready."

With team boss Christian Horner comparing his late start to life as an F1 winner to that of Nigel Mansell - who also won his first grand prix at 32 - Webber is hoping that the floodgates open in terms of success.

"I hope they are like buses, obviously," the Australian joked, "When you get one you get a few more. I have done a few grands prix now, but I think this is the first year I have really had a chance to win grands prix. I have had a few second places but finally pulled the win off.

"But what is really important to me is that it wasn't handed to me. I had to work for it. I started on pole - and it would have been a lot more comfortable, obviously, without the little penalty - but it was still reasonably straight forward. There was a lot of traffic, and some other people like Sebastian were going to be quick, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I have been in that situation, so it was nice to be able to have a very straightforward and easy first victory."