On the eve of a race that could see him take a significant step closer towards clinching the coveted F1 2010 World Championship crown, Mark Webber has claimed that far from weakening his bid for glory, the sometimes prickly 'chemistry' at Red Bull Racing this year has if anything made him even stronger.
There have been times this season – Istanbul and Silverstone spring most prominently to mind – when it has appeared that whilst Red Bull is keen for one of its two drivers to lift the ultimate laurels, it would be rather happier if that driver was the German one rather than the Australian.
Some have pointed to the continuing insistence that there will be no favouritism over the final three races despite Webber's 14-point margin over team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the standings as evidence that the team is willing to do almost anything
to ensure that it is the favourite son who triumphs, but the New South Wales native assures that such adversity has only served to help him to blossom.
“The team chemistry – obviously we've had a few little bobbles here and there – but with adversity people learn a lot about themselves as well,” he opined. “There has been some good stuff from our team and also from myself in terms of learning about the sport, and it's been good. Clearly it's been my best season to-date, so I'm happy with it so far.
“To be leading the championship is obviously the highest position you can be in with three races to go, but we know what level of competition we have. We totally respect our rivals and they're great operations, so that's why you need to keep your goals in-check but on the same side be optimistic and positive and well-driven within yourself that you can achieve great things. Clearly Fernando [Alonso] has achieved more things in the past, but for me this year has been an incredible season, a real highlight with many special victories and a lot of races which I have really, really enjoyed.”
Pressed about the sometimes fraught internecine rivalry between himself and Vettel – which really came to a head in the aforementioned instances in Turkey and Britain, with an acrimonious on-track collision in Istanbul – Webber went on to deflect suggestions that the pair's squabbling and red Bull's insistence on equal treatment could end up handing the title to a rival from a different team, as happened with Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren-Mercedes in 2007, to the benefit of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.
Whilst he knows he cannot afford to make any mistakes and to that end needs to remain on his guard, the man from Queanbeyan is adamant that he still needs to aim to win races, and as such will not be tempering his famously uncompromising style or gift any presents to any of his adversaries.
“For sure the Spanish probably want this,” he quipped, alluding to the fact that it is Alonso who currently sits poised to take full advantage of an RBR own-goal. “No-one knows what's going to happen in the next three races, nobody. We can talk for hours about what we're going to do, what's going to happen, this and that, upside down, inside out – but no-one knows, so we're going to go out there and do our stuff.
“Clearly Seb and I have had a good season. We're both in with a chance of doing quite well in the championship, and also the team is doing well in the constructors', because both of us obviously are getting quite a few points. If there's a point, in the future, where we have to race each other again then we will do what we always do – and that's obviously try to get the best result out of whatever situation we have.