Mark Webber celebrated the greatest day of his life on Sunday by drenching himself in champagne and leaping into the Monaco harbour.
On a landmark afternoon that saw the Australian follow in the tracks of two world championship winning compatriots, Jack Brabham and Alan Jones, the chisel-jawed 33-year-old was in the mood for a party.
“Absolutely incredible and for sure the greatest day of my life today,” the Red Bull driver told reporters after becoming the first Australian since Jones, who never won in Monaco, in 1981 to lead the Formula One championship.
“To win here is a very, very special day,” added Webber, his country’s first winner of the most glamorous race on the calendar since triple champion Brabham in 1959.
“All the basics that could test you were in front of us today so (it was a) very, very rewarding win and [I’m] just absolutely elated.”
“To join [the late six times Monaco winner] Ayrton Senna and those guys around here is great. It’s a real Blue Riband event.
“To win in Monaco is a dream for any Formula One driver,” continued the Australian.
“It is a very, very special event. Every Formula One victory is special but to win on the streets here fair and square off the pole, no attrition again, that’s nice.
“I was reminded yesterday that Jack Brabham won here in 1959 so it has been a while for the Australians. A special day.”
With rock music pounding from the team’s floating ‘Energy Station’ on the Monaco quayside, team boss Christian Horner savoured the moment.
His team had taken the lead in the constructors’ championship with their second one-two in six races, after starting every grand prix so far on pole position, and Webber and team mate Sebastian Vettel were level with 78 points.
“It’s a great moment for the team,” Horner told Reuters, a white towel draped around his neck and clothes sopping wet after being pushed into the swimming pool built into the decking of the hospitality unit.
“Mark’s gone in [to the pool] and both the drivers went off the top of the energy station into the harbour so hopefully we have still got two drivers for Istanbul in two weeks’ time,” added Horner.
Webber’s win was his second in eight days and fourth of his career and he did it from pole position without ever ceding the lead. Last Sunday he did the same in Spain and has now led for 144 successive laps.
A week ago, he left the Circuit de Catalunya and drove through the night in his Renault loan car straight to Monaco with the adrenalin still buzzing.
The Australian made clear that he could now afford to relax a bit, and not least because he had enjoyed a decent night’s sleep on Saturday.
“I’m predicting some very bad headaches in the morning, that’s for sure. The team deserves it, there’s no question about it. You have to enjoy your victories,” he said.
“When I was on pole position here last time [in F3000 nine years ago], I shared a room with [partner] Ann [Neal], my father and someone else.
“There were a lot of us in the room because we didn’t have much money to all stay in a room.
“But my father was snoring all night and I got no sleep, so in the middle of the night I got the mattress and threw it upside down and said `I’m on pole position tomorrow, I have to sleep,'” he added.
“I think it was an old brothel where we were staying…my dad can really cut some wood, he can really snore like hell.” — Reuters