Top Mark is Bullish after his late move seals Silverstone win
21:54 GMT, 8 July 2012
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has told Ferrari to forget about signing Mark Webber after the Australian left it late to take victory in the British Grand Prix.
Webber bided his time before sweeping past Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with four laps to go to take his second victory at Silverstone and move to within 13 points of the Spaniard at the top of the drivers’ championship.
And Horner is confident that the rejuvenated 35-year-old is ready to reject the chance of becoming Alonso’s teammate at Ferrari next year, despite the pull of signing off his career with Formula One’s most successful team.
Winning feeling: Mark Webber celebrates his victory with Red Bull team principle Christian Horner and the rest of the team
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Discussing Webber’s future, Horner said: ‘Very simply, we have a great relationship with Mark.
‘I think Mark wants to be in the team next year. Therefore, as we have always stated, during the summer we will sit down and talk about the future.
‘That period of time is obviously coming up pretty close now.
‘In the next few weeks we will be talking about 2013.’
Pushed on whether he wanted Webber to stay, Horner replied: ‘Absolutely. As always with Mark things are pretty straightforward.
‘This is his seventh season with the team now. He has had all of his success in Formula One with this team and we would like to see that continue.
‘Inevitably there is an awful lot of speculation surrounding Ferrari, but we are on focussed on ourselves. We cannot control what other people say or do. Mark feels comfortable in the team and over the next few weeks we will sit down and talk about the future.
‘Mark has given me every indication that he is very happy. You can see that in his driving.
‘He has been very consistent and he has won two big races now, the Monaco Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix. His drive here was excellent, inch perfect.
‘The move he made on Fernando, again, was absolutely spot on.’
Muddy misery: fans suffer at rain-soaked Silverstone
Webber certainly feels his current form is enough to justify a new contract with Red Bull — and the interest from Ferrari — especially as he has bounced back from a disastrous 2011 campaign during which he was totally outclassed by teammate Sebastian Vettel who finished third yesterday.
Webber said: ‘I’m pushing hard to get a contract for next year and my results this time are helping my situation to stay in Formula One.
‘I’m second in the drivers’ championships and I’m not looking to see who is third, fourth or fifth. I’m looking at the guy in first place. I’d rather have my points than most of the other guys and I’m not low on confidence at the moment.’
Even so, Webber conceded he had to be at his best to relegate Alonso to second place, despite Silverstone being a track where he has enjoyed so much success.
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‘I had a single opportunity to pass Alonso and you’ve got to grab these chances when they come,’ said Webber who lives just 40 miles from the Northamptonshire circuit.
‘You smell the blood and you have to make your move. I thought in the first stint Fernando had he was in very, very good shape to probably close the win out, but it came our way in the last stint and I’m over the moon, absolutely rapt.
‘I have always loved being at Silverstone. It’s kind of my home race. I can stay at home and go for a run with my dogs, who are always pleased to see me.
‘I won my first race here in 1996 in a Formula Ford so the love affair continues.’
Alonso admitted he simply did not have the speed to hold off Webber.
Coming up short: Fernando Alonso says he did not have the speed to hold off Webber
The double world champion said: ‘The victory was quite close but Mark was much quicker in the last laps and he deserves the win.’
There was no such mutual respect between Sauber’s Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado of Williams. Furious at being shunted out of the race by Maldonado, Perez is unlikely to be satisfied with the 8,000 fine handed to the Venezuelan by the stewards, given he brings in 30million in sponsorship from his country’s state-owned petrochemical industry.
Rounding on Maldonado, who was blamed for taking out Lewis Hamilton in the previous race in Valencia, Perez said: ‘He doesn’t respect other drivers. I was already in front and he should have given space not to crash, but he tried to push me all the way.
‘I don’t understand why he drives like that.
‘It is not the first time he has damaged my weekend. This guy will never learn if they don’t do something.
‘He could hurt someone. Everybody has concerns about him.’
Hitting back, Maldonado blamed the accident on his cold tyres, adding: ‘Sergio can say what he wants. We are racing. We are trying to do our best. I was trying to defend, he was trying to gain. This is racing, otherwise everyone would race with the safety car.’