During his F1 career, Mark Webber has made no secret of his love of the older iconic motor racing venues around the world while being equally dismissive of many of the expensive new bespoke facilities that have been added to the world championship calendar over the years.

Not surprisingly, then, he speaks glowingly of one of the most iconic circuits of them all - the Cicuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes forests in Belgium.

"It's a sensational circuit," he beamed. "Compared to the ones that have been attempted to be designed of late obviously they're nothing like this track. It's a beautiful circuit to drive on, all the guys love coming here, the teams, the engineers.

"Even the cars I think in a bizarre way know they're here in terms of Eau Rouge and Blanchimont," he added. "You know, La Source is very tight and then 10 seconds later you're through Eau Rouge so it's a great mixture."

His love of Spa made being here for the last time in F1 full of mixed feelings: "Emotionally, it is a bit more of a roller-coaster," he said on Saturday after qualifying in third place for his final Belgian Grand Prix.

But right now, the emotions are being put to one side: Webber has a job to do and it's not being made any easier by the wildly fluctuating weather conditions so typical of this region in Europe.

"Yeah, difficult for all of us to make the right calls," he said. "Really it's the conditions changing so much. In our industry and in F1 we like to control as much as we can, obviously, and the plan into a normal dry qualifying session is obviously very regimented, very organised and the fine tuning is incredibly precise."

But the one thing that the teams can't control is the weather, as was vividly show on Friday and Saturday.

"When it's like that, obviously you have to make decisions on the bounce, the driver's got to be very interactive with the pit wall, the pit wall has got to make the decisions with the boys," he said, explaining that this heightened the passions and feelings at an already emotional event for him.

"There is just, by circumstance, more emotion and the timing is a bit more - well, a lot more critical and that's what makes people a bit more squeakier, let's say, in terms of pressure," he said. "It's very easy to look stupid in those conditions, from a team side, from a driver's side, making the right calls. In the end, we got most things okay I'd say.

"It's a little bit bizarre with the DRS on or off in [Q3]" he added. "It's available in the first part of quali but not at the end, but it's the same for everyone," he said, explaining that it was very difficult "to know where you are, how the track's moving around so much.

"It was quite a ballsy thing for me to go slow in the middle lap know if the track's going to be better on the last lap, to save the tyres, because they're struggling quite a bit in those conditions, on the inters. In the end, it wasn't too bad a lap and it was quite tight obviously. So, yeah, pretty happy to be right up there for tomorrow's race."

And while he won't be back here in an F1 car next year, of course it's not the end of Webber's love affair with Spa-Francorchamps.

"I won the Formulas Ford race here in 1996 so it's a beautiful circuit to drive on in any category and yeah, looking forward to bringing the Porsche here next year."



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