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Webber 'could be the new Mansell'

Mark Webber celebrates his maiden win

F1 Highlights - Webber's maiden victory

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport at Nurburgring

Mark Webber's maiden win at the German Grand Prix could open the floodgates for his career, according to his Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Webber took a dominant victory at the Nurburgring to end a 130-race drought since his Formula 1 debut in 2002.

Horner said it could be the trigger Webber needs to win regularly.

"He could be the next Nigel Mansell," Horner said. "I remember when he got his first win - his career took off and it took him a long time to get there."

Webber has developed a reputation as F1's unluckiest driver - and at the Nurburgring it briefly appeared as if he was again going to fall short when everything seemed set up for him.

I hope wins are like muscles. When you get one, you get a few more

Mark Webber

He took pole position and was in a strong position to win because of the strategies the drivers around him had taken.

His task became much harder when he was given a drive-through penalty for causing a collision with Brawn's Rubens Barrichello on the run down to the first corner.

But Horner said the team always felt the win was possible because Barrichello and other leading cars were being held up by McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen and Webber drove a superb race to overcome his disadvantage.

"I hope wins are like muscles," Webber said. "When you get one, you get a few more. I have done a few grands prix now but I think this is the first year I have really had the chance to win grands prix.

"What is really important to me is that it wasn't handed to me. I had to work for it.

"It would have been a lot easier obviously without the little penalty but apart from that it was reasonably straightforward."

The win was particularly special for Webber as he has bounced back this season after breaking his right leg and shoulder in a mountain bike accident in Australia last November.

He had two titanium screws taken out of the leg before this race but there is still a rod helping the injury heal.

"Sebastian showed in winter testing what the car could do and that kept my motivation high while I was hurting a lot with all the rehab," Webber said.

"I thought I was ready to go for winter testing but I wasn't. The leg was a long way from being healed. It was just metal holding it in place, so it has come a long way since then.

"But I had a lot of good people around me and the team have been incredibly patient with me as well. I want to thank them for what they did for me over the winter.

"And I always stayed positive. Looking at the times Sebastian was doing in testing gave me a lot of motivation to keep going.

Andrew Benson's blog

"It has been a long road to get here, but thanks to all the people who believed in me and supported me. And there have been a few people who doubted me as well. So hello to them as well."

The win puts Webber third in the drivers' championship, 22.5 points behind leader Jenson Button and 1.5 points behind his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Horner has made it clear the team will continue to give both drives equal treatment until one of them is out of the running in the championship.

"Both titles are still up for grabs," Webber said. "There's no question about it, the guys at (the Red Bull factory in) Milton Keynes have produced a special car.

"Brawn have a good car but we are not giving up that's for sure. The big problem at our factory at the moment is building a big enough trophy. It's a good problem to have."

Vettel, who finished second in Germany and paid tribute to Webber's performance.

"He was unbeatable today, he was quicker than all of us so he totally deserved to win," the German said.



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see also
German Grand Prix race results
07 Jul 09 |  Results
Webber battles to maiden F1 win
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Barrichello turns on Brawn team
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
German Grand Prix as it happened
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
German Grand Prix photos
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
German GP qualifying as it happened
11 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
German Grand Prix qualifying results
07 Jul 09 |  Results
German Grand Prix qualifying photos
11 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren still fighting - Hamilton
10 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
German GP practice as it happened
10 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
German Grand Prix practice photos
10 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Zoom in and fly around the Nurburgring
08 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
F1 breakaway plans still in place
09 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Button wary of Red Bull challenge
09 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Title is 'Button's to lose now'
07 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Webber breaks leg in bike crash
22 Nov 08 |  Formula 1
Mark Webber column
14 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
F1 on the BBC
01 Dec 11 |  Formula 1


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