Mark Webber has described winning the final race of the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship as ‘very important’ after a largely disappointing season for the Australian.
Having qualified second on Saturday, Webber ran behind team-mate Vettel for the first 29 laps of the race before taking the lead and eventually the win as the German battled with a gearbox problem.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s race report, results and points
The win marks the seventh of Webber’s career and his second in Brazil, and elevates the 35-year-old Red Bull Racing pilot to third in the final championship standings – just one point ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Webber also set the fastest lap of the race on the 71st and final lap – extending his category-high total to seven for the season.
“It felt good all weekend to be honest,” said Webber after the race.
“Seb did a great lap for pole yesterday, but today (I) had a bit of a rub of the green. It would have been nice to have a battle with Sebastian all the way through, but he had a bit of a problem.
“It’s a win that I’ll take for sure because I’ve had a bit of bad luck or whatever you want to call it and know that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s a very important win for me and the team to finish on a high.”
While Vettel dominated the season with 11 victories, 15 pole positions and his second consecutive World Championship, Webber is optimistic about his 2012 chances.
“I think I can have a stronger season than this year,” said Webber.
“Clearly, this season started off poorly for lots of different reasons, and you’ve got to look at all different areas to get to the highest level. The bar is high, it’s obviously not just Seb, we’ve got some class operators in other teams – JB (Jenson Button), Lewis (Hamilton), Fernando… these boys are on the case. That’s what makes it rewarding.
“(Winning) is a nice little tonic for me to finish the year. Those last few laps were just to feel the car and give the RB7 a bit of a send-off for me because it hasn’t had an amazing amount of memories for me.
“I’m looking forward to learning how to surf in the winter, backing off a bit and recharging before coming back in February and concentrating on the job again.”
The 2012 Formula One World Championship kicks off at Albert Park, Australia, on March16- 18.