“How good your setup and your tools are, that’s definitely an important factor in Formula One or any other form of motorsport for that matter. But that’s not all there is to it. If that were it, who’d bother giving all they have to something like this? There must be a reason, must be something that people are still doing it even after a hundred years. People are still at it, searching for the ultimate combination of man and machine.
Having a fast car only means you’re a little closer to winning but what decides that win, it’s something else. Something that can’t be expressed in words. The hunger, the fire, the passion, the adrenaline all of it, to search for that winning feeling. “
The above paragraph may be a little closer to deciphering Mark Webber’s mindset going into the 2010 British Grand Prix.
Red Bull arguably had the best car in 2010 thanks to Adrian Newey’s godly Aero skills. The car, Newey revealed later, had the most downforce ever put on an Formula One machine.
As is the case in Formula One, new parts come from the factory to the race crew all over the year and at this race, the Red Bull Aero department had done its job and gave their drivers a brand new nose and front wing. Now as the team is on a tight schedule and the competition was getting fierce, they decided to introduce the new wing and nose even if they had no spares for it. So, in total Red Bull had two new noses; one for each driver ensuring equality within the team.
As the weekend progressed, Sebastian and Mark were pretty evenly matched in all of the Friday sessions with Seb topping the first practice and Mark taking the honour in the second one.
Late in the third practice session on Saturday, Sebastian had a mechanical failure on his car which rendered his ‘new’ front wing completely useless for the rest of the weekend.
This is the point where things started to go haywire. Red Bull bosses decided to “rob” Mark apparently. They gave HIS new wing to Sebastian which obviously did not go well with the driver famously known as the “Aussie Grit”.
Come qualifying, the pair fought hammer and tongs over the pole position, each of them trading blows but it was Sebastian that stole the pole from the angry Australian by just 0.1 of a second. Mark was visibly pissed after the session and made his emotions abundantly clear at the post qualifying press conference. He disliked being considered second fiddle to Vettel but more importantly he was displeased about how that new front wing had helped his teammate gain pole position and to add to that misery he was going to start the dirty side of the grid.
Comic book fans usually know one thing, “Thy shall never make Bruce Banner angry”. Well, Mark unleashed his hidden HULK and produced one of his best drives ever. He surprisingly had the better start of the two Red Bull drivers and resisted Sebastian’s defensive tactics through the first bend to take the lead of the race. An over-ambitious Lewis touched Sebastian’s right rear ever so lightly but enough to cause the German a puncture and ruin his race. The German however clawed his way back to seventh which has to be credited to the safety car’s appearance.
The race is famous for a very clear analysis of the inter-team politics going on at Red Bull given by Mark Webber post race when he radioed the team after winning the Grand Prix exclaiming “Not bad for a number two driver, eh?!”
Webber later revealed he had no intention of staying at RedBull after this incident but he had already signed the contract for the next season.
With the team clearly producing a championship worthy car it surely would’ve been digging his own grave for himself if he had not signed that contract but it’s sometimes good to bow out of a fight with dignity than get dragged through the mud, only to find out you’ve been fighting handicapped all this time.