Horner praises Webber and Vettel
Christian Horner has praised Mark Webber for an ‘unbelievable year’ of which he should be ‘very, very proud’ – and despite his previous confession that the future for Red Bull Racing is Sebastian Vettel, he has tipped the popular Australian to ‘come back even more motivated and stronger next year’.
“Take nothing away from Mark – he’s had an unbelievable year,” the Englishman underlined of what has been comfortably Webber’s finest campaign in the top flight to-date. “Mark can be very, very proud of what he’s achieved. We’re all very proud of what he’s done – he’s been an awesome competitor.
“He’s taken this championship into the last race. He led during the summer, and he could well have won it himself at different stages of the year. Overall, he’s been a big part of the success of this team, and he has pushed Sebastian to the limit. They’ve been so close on so many occasions.
“It’s tough for Mark. He will look across at the jubilation on the other side, but he knows he’s had equal equipment all year. He knows the support he’s had from the team, so I’ve told him he should hold his head high. I’m sure given a few days to digest things, to reflect, he will come back even more motivated and stronger for next year.”
“I always said this championship would have another twist,” the 37-year-old went on. “It’s down to what happens on the circuit – and that’s the way it should be. The first time Sebastian has led it has been right at the end. It’s a team effort and ultimately Sebastian prevailed. I’m very proud of what Sebastian has done.
“Both drivers can be very proud – they both took it into the last race. Vettel has had his ups-and-downs, he’s had a few engine issues here and there, but he has never lost faith and he has stuck at it – and he’s triumphed in the end. It’s been a very emotional and unbelievable week for all concerned.”
When asked how he would rate Vettel alongside the world champions he has worked with in the past at Williams and McLaren-Mercedes, meanwhile, Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey reflected: “The things I would say are common with all the great drivers. Obviously natural talent – that goes without saying – but then having that underlying grit and determination, and having a good brain, and Sebastian combines that very well. If you have that combination, winning a championship hopefully becomes a matter of time.”