Aussies exult in Webber’s F1 win
SYDNEY: Australia's motor racing fraternity and media on Monday hailed Mark Webber after he won the German Grand Prix, becoming the first Aussie to win an F1 GP since Alan Jones in Las Vegas in 1981.
The 32-year-old Red Bull driver's victory on Sunday was also a personal triumph, coming in his 130th attempt.
It might also be timely given doubts about the future of the Australian Grand Prix, with race chief Ron Walker indicating last week that the Melbourne street race may be scrapped if disunity in the sport is not resolved.
"It's a fabulous result and a well deserved one," Jones said. "Mark's been putting in the hard yards, putting up with a lot of disappointment and bad luck and it's fantastic to see him put one together.
"I am sure it isn't going to be the last (by Webber), and it will give him a big confidence boost for the rest of the year."
Jones said he would try to call Webber to congratulate him personally.
"He drove like a star, his Red Bull team got the tactics exactly right and he delivered on all the promise he has shown since he first raced Formula Ford in Australia," The Herald-Sun motoring writer Paul Gover said.
"Based on his performance at the Nurburgring, Webber will win races again before the end of the year and is now a dark horse for the world championship behind points leader Jenson Button and (Sebastian) Vettel."
"It's no less than he deserves," Gover said after Webber came home ahead of his Red Bull teammate Vettel in the team's second successive one-two at the Nurburgring.
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) sent a message of congratulations.
"This is a great day for Mark and we are so happy to see him get the win he deserves," AGPC chief executive Drew Ward said in a statement.
"All Australians should be very proud of Mark's achievements. His dedication to racing is inspirational and we look forward to continued success for the rest of the season."
The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport Limited (CAMS) said Webber was an example to Australia's up-and-coming drivers.
"It is incredible to see him achieve success after years of hard work and dedication," CAMS chief executive Graham Fountain said in a statement.
Webber's triumph comes eight months after he suffered a fractured right leg after being hit head-on by a car while cycling in a multi-sport charity event in Tasmania.
Webber's father, Alan, said his win was a relief for the family.
"The monkey's off his back now, he had a screw out of his leg... and he had another screw taken out there three weeks ago," he said.
"It may have helped a little bit but he was really on the pace all weekend and he was strong and dominant today."