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Webber celebrates ‘special’ final race in F1

November 24, 2013

SAO PAULO (AP) — Mark Webber couldn’t quite muster a victory in his final Formula One race. Finishing second at the Brazilian Grand Prix wasn’t a bad way to bow out either, though.

“It’s been a real pleasure for me to finish today’s race like this,” Webber said. “I’m happy with the finish and I’m happy to go and do something different now. It was a special day for myself.”

Webber was again bested by Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel at Interlagos on Sunday to cap his 12-year F1 career before he starts driving sports cars next season.

The Brazilian GP marked Webber’s 42nd podium finish in F1, having won nine races in 215 career starts.

The second-place finish in Brazil allowed the 37-year-old Australian to move from fifth to third in the drivers’ standings, matching his best championship finish from 2010 and 2011.

Webber started from fourth place and quickly charged to the front after battling with some the drivers who have been his main rivals for so long.

“It was a very good finish to my career, a good fight with all the guys I’ve enjoyed fighting with for most of my career, Seb, Fernando (Alonso), Lewis (Hamilton), Nico (Rosberg), all the guys who have been in the window for the last five or six years,” Webber said.

“I’m very proud to have raced with these guys at the end,” he said. “I raced pretty much all four or five of them at some stage in the race today.”

The Red Bull team wrote “Awesome. Thank you Mark,” on the pit sign as the Australian crossed the finish line. Webber took his helmet off as he returned to the pits and waved to the crowd and the race marshals.

Before the race, Red Bull put an Australian flag hanging over the Webber’s car and displayed another sign saying “Thank You Mark.” Webber stood by the car as team members behind him applauded.

Webber, who is joining Porsche’s endurance program in 2014, will be replaced by countryman Daniel Ricciardo, a 24-year-old who was with Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso.

Webber said he would like to be remembered by his colleagues as someone who always raced “pretty hard and fair.”

The Australian is looking forward to next year and “a better balance in my professional and private life.”

“I’m going to have a few weeks out, for sure, doing nothing,” Webber said. “I love putting the fire on at home, chopping some wood, putting the fire on and maybe a bit of red wine and chill out with some chocolate.”

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