Jaime Alguersuari believes Mark Webber is now in a great position to win the F1 2012 drivers' title following his victory in last Sunday's British Grand Prix.
The driver-turned-analyst believes consistency will be the key this season and he has been impressed with the Aussie, who has scored points in every single race, bar Barcelona, and who closed the gap to Fernando Alonso after triumphing at Silverstone, cutting the margin from 20 points to 13.
“There is no doubt that Mark Webber is back as a major contender for the F1 championship after his victory in the British Grand Prix on Sunday,” Alguersuari wrote in his latest column for BBC Sport
“When Webber struggled in 2011 while team-mate Sebastian Vettel dominated, lots of people wrote him off and said that 2010 was his last chance to win the title. So they have been surprised that he is competitive again this year.
“But it is the other way around for me - I was surprised by last year. Webber has always been a very good, fast driver. Even though I was driving for Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso last year, I have no idea why 2011 went the way it did for Webber. It's very difficult for anyone outside a F1 team to know why one driver is struggling compared with another.
“But Webber is experienced in F1 and that is a big factor when it comes to being successful. He has been there for many years and has driven for many teams. He knows the people very well, and how they work, and his position at Red Bull is perfect for him.
“Webber knows how to deal with every single situation in which he finds himself in the team. He got his opportunity at Silverstone and he got the maximum out of it.
“He demonstrated in 2010 that he could fight for the championship and he is showing it again now.”
Alguersuari meanwhile warned that it would be foolish to write off McLaren, even if the team has struggled in recent races.
“At the start of the season, when we went to Australia and saw both McLarens on the front row, I was convinced this would be their season. The cars just looked fantastic out on the track,” added the BBC Radio 5 Live
“It was obvious even then that this season would be about consistency and I thought [Jenson] Button was the favourite because he always tends to get the maximum out of what he can without making too many mistakes. But now Button is really struggling and McLaren have slipped back in terms of performance.
“They still often look quick in Friday practice, but then they are struggling on Saturdays and Sundays - to the extent that I am beginning to wonder whether they are running the cars with less fuel than other teams on Fridays. They have lost a lot of ground to Ferrari and Red Bull, both in terms of performance and points, but they are a great team and have demonstrated in the past they can improve their car very quickly. So I wouldn't write them off just yet,” he concluded.