When Mark Webber emerged from the Red Bull energy station after the race his cool demeanour belied the fact that an hour and half beforehand he had experienced the biggest crash F1 has seen since Robert Kubica´s off in Montreal in 2007.
Webber thanked his Red Bull RB6 for keeping him safe, and to his credit, made only subtle references to Heikki Kovalainen´s attempt to race him with a less competitive car.
“The cars are very safe, and I was very lucky obviously as it was a very dangerous crash,” said Webber. “Obviously I was out of position, coming back through, and I caught Heikki. I was a lot faster than him. I wasn’t sure… At the middle of the straight I thought maybe he’s letting me go, then I thought no now he’s starting to fight and defend, because obviously it’s for points. Then a long, long way before the braking point, he braked. You’ll see it in the telemetry, it was 80 metres [earlier than expected].
“At that point I’m a passenger. And I was worried about the bridges. I didn’t know how high the bridges were, and obviously if I made contact with the bridges, it’s a big problem for me. But the car, thank God, was very safe, and I’m OK. I lose some points, but in the end, when I’m up there I’m not worried about points, I’m worried about that I’m OK. I’m happy I’m OK, and I’ll be ready for Silverstone.
“When you are in that situation you cannot control where the car is going, and how hard the hits are going to be. Of course the hits were pretty hard. It’s my Monte Carlo and Barcelona winning chassis, a lot of pole positions, so this chassis has been good to me. But also good to me today, because it saved me from some injuries.
“I’m not 100% at the moment, but I will be by Silverstone. For sure I’ve taken a few hits here and there. But I’ve been through a little bit, so I’ll bounce back.”
Webber had got into the situation that led to the crash after being bundled down to ninth on the first lap. The team pitted him early in an attempt to find a clear track, but a stuck wheel dropped him behind Kovalainen.
“I had a very difficult start, and then got a little bit out of position at the chicane. And then also out of the second chicane, it concertinaed into the next one as well, so that on the to Turn 8 I was a bit out of position having a fight for I think sixth or seventh at that point, and then I got touched I think by a Williams, which pushed me wide.
“It was a little bit of a punching bag in the first sector. But anyway that’s the start of when you’re out of position and then you need to come back through. In my opinion the accident should never happened. There’s a point obviously when you’re racing for position, and also a point when you’re five seconds a lap slower than someone, and you’re not racing really.”
Webber had scored points in every race prior to Valencia, and conceded that his streak was bound to end at some stage.
“It’s the first race I lose points, I’ve scored points every race this year, so now I join all the other drivers in not scoring at every Grand Prix. I remain incredibly positive. We go on. It’s half way through the championship – bloody hell, let’s get on with it, and I’m looking forward to it.
“I got 50 points in eight days not that long ago. There’s a long, long way to go in this game. You never want non finishes, but they’re inevitable in a 19-race championship. It wasn’t a little brush with the wall, a non-finish like that, it was a spectacular incident, and I’m just happy that I’m here.
“And also what’s good is that it’s a good result for the team, Seb won. He’s a rival of mine as well, but at least the team got some more points with him.”