Mark Webber has described his victory in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona as 'very special' and as memorable and satisfying as his first in F1 in the German Grand Prix at the N?rburgring last year, as the Red Bull Racing star proved to be uncatchable and arguably staked his credentials as a genuine title contender.

Having lapped out of reach of any of his rivals in qualifying for his second pole position of the F1 2010 campaign - defeating team-mate Sebastian Vettel by just over a tenth of a second as RBR turned the session into an entirely internecine scrap well clear of any other team - Webber got the jump at the start of the race and was never again headed, comfortably stretching his legs from firstly Vettel and later Lewis Hamilton, and winding up with a commanding 24-second advantage over Fernando Alonso at the chequered flag after both of his immediate pursuers hit trouble.

"[I'm] absolutely rapped," he enthused. "After qualifying, it was certainly a great position for us to start the grand prix in. I had to work very hard, and it was a crucial pole. I felt very good in the car. We knew it was a long run to the first corner here and we had some pretty quick cars behind us in terms of top speed, so it was very important to get out of Turn One still in the lead.

"It was quite tight and we had a good battle going into there, and then I just settled into a rhythm really in the first stint, looking after the tyres and making sure we got the 'Option' through as everyone is still learning, venue-to-venue, about how the tyres might operate. It is a very heavy car in the first ten-to-15 laps and you want to be careful you don't bite off more than you can chew. We had a pretty good idea the tyres would behave themselves, but you never know. We just made sure they were in pretty good nick and finished the stint in a good fashion, which they did.

"The car wasn't easy at the start; some laps I wasn't particularly happy with the laps I was doing - you always think you can get a bit more - but [the lead] was still stretching as I think Seb was having similar problems. It's always nice to see the gap going away; that gave me good confidence from there, and off we went.

"I had Seb with me [before the pit-stop], and then after the pit-stop I had Lewis behind me, and we just controlled the gap really - just picking my way through the traffic and looking after the car, engine and tyres as the grands prix are pretty long and you need to get the cars home. Then we could just pace the car to the end. We had a faultless weekend, and the race was a very well-executed grand prix. The driver did his little bit of work too, and in the end it was a fantastic result and I am absolutely thrilled.

"The team have been incredible, getting the cars ready [with] long, long nights and an incredible amount of effort at the factory. Collectively, Renault and Red Bull have put a sensational effort in. It started, really, on the way back from Shanghai. A lot of people were out-of-position for a long, long time; that probably didn't affect our team, but there was a bit of a knock-on effect of people being stuck out there behind schedule, getting back into the rhythm, into the factory with the race team and factory-based people getting going.

"There were some astronomical hours really; there was a Bank Holiday Monday a few weeks ago, and they were in, preparing the car, and after hours. Okay, maybe every team is doing it, but people were telling them to do things and they were not even questioning it. It's just boom, boom; everyone is on the same channel, pushing hard.

"Then trackside this week, Kenny [Handkammer, chief mechanic] was on the podium; he's been in Formula 1 a long time and it was nice to have him up there for the first time. He's won many, many races as the chief bolt [mechanic], him with his soldiers and his boys and the hours that he's done. It's good that we're obviously run by Red Bull because I think it keeps the guys awake - their eyes are popping out of their heads because of the hours that they've done! That was a special effort. Okay, Seb didn't have a clean race and could have been second, but there were no mistakes on the cars even though they're under stress. That was good."

Vettel's late brake problems did remind observers that whilst devastatingly fast, the Adrian Newey-designed RB6 also remains a touch more fragile than its immediate rivals - a scenario that has cost the energy drinks-backed outfit valuable early constructors' championship points. Conversely, the German's woes enabled his Australian team-mate to close to within just seven points in the drivers' title standings - meaning that with 14 races still to go and the illustrious Monaco Grand Prix this coming weekend, Webber is right in the hunt for glory.

"It was a very special victory," acknowledged the 33-year-old New South Wales native. "The first one is good, but this one is right up there with it. All of them have been good. Obviously in Brazil it was overshadowed by Jenson [Button] winning the title and this was Fernando's home race, so there were a lot of people excited about that locally, but it was my day and that's why I was very happy and satisfied that I started on pole and could capitalise on that and control the race - they're the ones which are very special to have, because they don't always happen like that.

"It's the first time that someone's won from pole this year and it's the tenth time from pole at this venue, so it's a very important position to start the race and we did the job in the end. I said to some people that when I won a race this year I would do something different, so it was nice to throw my helmet into the crowd and give a present back to the fans. They don't always get the best treatment in Formula 1, so it was nice to throw a bit of a gift out there for them - and there were a few Aussie flags here, which was nice to see.

"[Monaco] is a special venue, a one-off on the calendar. It is a sensational challenge for the drivers, and we all like going there - you certainly couldn't have a track like it now if you wanted to design and build one. It is a little bit on the edge. We know that, but we will go there and give it our best shot. The whole atmosphere is good and it is a special grand prix - and we all know that front row will be king there as well.

"[In the championship] it is still very early days. We know there are some very competitive cars - in particular Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren - and there are some pretty decent drivers as well, so there is a long, long way to go. We need to see how the car performs at different venues. The cars are pretty sensitive to different tracks, so there is a lot of water to go under the bridge yet in terms of how this will shake out in the next five or six months.

"You need a quick car, but you need to have one that is always there for you. It showed with McLaren with the failure [on Hamilton's car in Barcelona] that everyone is pushing things to the limit. Ferrari have had some engine problems. We can build tractors, but they are slow. You need to build Formula 1 cars that are on the edge - and this is the balance everyone is chasing."


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