Webber can follow in Brabham`s tracks
More than half a century after Jack Brabham won Formula One`s most glamorous race, Mark Webber has a real chance to emulate his great compatriot on the streets of Monaco this weekend.
Monaco: More than half a century after Jack Brabham won Formula One`s most glamorous race, Mark Webber has a real chance to emulate his great compatriot on the streets of Monaco this weekend.
The principality has had a special place in Australian motor racing lore since triple world champion Brabham, now 84, won there in 1959 for the first of his 14 Formula One wins.
No Australian has repeated the feat since, although Alan Jones finished second in 1981, but Webber definitely has what it takes.
Fresh from a dominant third career win from pole position in Barcelona last weekend, the Red Bull driver has the quickest car around at the moment and Monaco is a track he has always revelled in.
He won the Formula 3000 race in the principality in 2001, was sufficiently impressive there in an uncompetitive Minardi in 2002 to get a drive with Jaguar and took third place with Williams in 2005.
"We know it is a special venue. It is a one off on the calendar. It is a sensational challenge for the drivers. We all like going there," Webber told reporters.
"You certainly couldn`t have a track like it now if you wanted to design and build one. It is a little bit on the edge. We know that but we will go there and give it our best shot," said the 33-year-old.
"It is a different type of weekend with running on Thursday and a bit of a break on Friday. The whole atmosphere is good and it is a special grand prix. We all know that front row will be king there as well."
Red Bull have started all five races so far this season on pole position, with Germany`s Sebastian Vettel taking three of them, and fear no rivals.
Qualifying will be tricky, with six more cars than last year and some inexperienced backmarkers likely to get in the way.
Mercedes have Michael Schumacher, a five-times Monaco winner, returning to form while Ferrari`s Fernando Alonso -- twice a winner on the harbourside track -- is challenging hard for the overall lead. But Red Bull are confident.
"It is a race we are determined to do well at," said team principal Christian Horner.
"It is a circuit we weren`t particularly strong last year at, but we feel we have improved the car in a lot of areas compared to last season and we believe we can be very strong in Monaco."
Red Bull`s main rivals will be McLaren`s two world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, who also happen to be the last two winners in Monaco.
Hamilton won in 2008, after finishing second in 2007, and loves the layout.
"It`s the greatest track in Formula One. My victory there in 2008 is still probably my best win in Formula One and one of the greatest moments in my career," said the 25-year-old Briton.
Championship leader Button triumphed with Brawn last year, making no mistakes until it came to parking the car up after taking the chequered flag. He then had to sprint along the straight to accept the trophy from Prince Albert.
"I won at Monaco last year, it was one of the highlights of my season, and also of my entire racing career," said the older Englishman.
"It`s a race you grow up watching; you know the circuit, every corner, by heart before you`ve ever driven there so it`s an extremely special place. It`s a race every young driver dreams of winning," added the Monaco resident.