In a series of four revealing articles, Mark Webber opens up to Crash.net's Stephen English on a variety of F1-related topics. In part two, the Australian looks back over the highs and lows of his career....

After an eleven-year career in F1, Mark Webber admits to having few regrets as he looks back on his time in the sport. In an interview during the Abu Dhabi GP weekend, the Australian joked that his biggest misgiving was crashing in the 2010 Korean Grand Prix when a solid finish would have given him a superb chance of winning the title. As it was, the crash cost him dearly and ultimately his team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, would go on to claim his first title.

"I would probably stay off the grass in Korea!" Webber said, referring to the incident in Mokpo, "That was the first time that I spun that car that year."

He went on to talk about the season in general, and it was clear that not only did he view it as his best opportunity to have won the title, but also that it was when he was driving at his best.

"I drove some phenomenal races that year to be in with a chance of winning the championship," Webber noted, "I could easily have not been in with a chance in 2010 like I am this year."

Having failed to win the title, Webber could be forgiven for admitting to regrets, but the Australian is philosophical about his career and the choices that he has made. One of the key decisions made in his early career was not to join Fernando Alonso at Renault in 2005. At the time, Webber was being managed by Flavio Briatore and the Italian was keen to place him in his team.

That year, Alonso went on to win his first of two titles with Giancarlo Fisichella as his team-mate. Renault was a race-winning outfit whereas Webber, racing for Williams, had to be content with one podium in two years. The decision not to move to Renault, for whom he first tested an F1 car in 2000, could easily be one that would have led to regret, but Webber instead looks back on the decision as being key in allowing him the chance to race for Red Bull:

"I've got very minimal regrets because I did my best at the time," he explained, " I put my best foot forward and did what I thought was right at the time. Would I have loved to have gone to Renault instead of Williams? Yes, of course, but maybe then I wouldn't have come to Red Bull because something happened differently and you have a different scenario [for the last five years]."

Webber clearly subscribes to the butterfly effect and given that, over the last five years, he has won nine races and finished on the podium 38 times, his defining career decision was clearly joining Red Bull rather than turning down Briatore.

Looking back at some of his career highlights, Webber quickly points to his debut in 2002. That year, he was racing for Minardi and, with Paul Stoddart running the team, there was a distinctly Australian feel to the Italian-based squad. His debut, at the Australian Grand Prix, saw Webber claim two points for finishing fifth and after the race he was brought onto the rostrum in front of the home crowd.

"My first grand prix was a big moment - for any driver, their first grand prix is massive," he said, "That was special and, obviously, my first win was massive. No driver is going to forget their first win - whether you have one or 50 wins, the first one is unique.

"Monaco is worth two wins, I think, as far as the emotion is concerned. Both of the wins there were very different. 2010 was the easiest victory that I ever had, I was completely in control of that race, whereas 2012 was a harder win because of the scenario. We were in the shit after practice and I still managed to get the car on the front row and then Michael got a penalty and we managed to win the race. It's normal that the days that you have the biggest highs are the ones that you enjoy."

Moving back into sportscars with Porsche next year puts Webber in position to match the feat of Graham Hill and win two of the sports classic races, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24 Hours. That surely wouldn't be something to regret.

 

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