Mark Webber has competed in 209 grands prix, in 22 different countries across five continents. Now he reveals what would be his ultimate Formula One track.
Sector one - Suzuka
“I would start the lap with the famous first sector at Suzuka. What a lot of people don’t appreciate is the very steep downhill entrance to Turn 1 which makes the first right-hander very fast. Then you start to climb into Turn 2 and you are generally climbing all the way up to Turn 7, the long left-hander. I have to choose it because of the accuracy required, the sensational undulations and its very technical nature.
“I have a few great memories from there especially the year I was going for the championship in 2010. It was a battle for pole between Sebastian [Vettel] and I, so we just kept ramping up the pace. It was a super rewarding session. I started second on the grid and finished a few tenths behind him in the race. I was just trying my hardest to force him into making a mistake. In those days we didn’t have DRS or KERS which would have been nice.
“My fourth place for Williams in 2005 was also a very strong race for me in a car which probably didn’t deserve to be there. It is an awesome feeling to know you’ve got the maximum out of the car.
“Obviously Spa has also got a pretty tasty first sector thanks to its famous long straights which give you an amazing sensation of speed but for me Suzuka just beats it.”
Sector two - Imola
“Given I would be looking for a bit more topography, it would have to be Imola. After Tosa you’ve got a left, then you go downhill to Acqua Minerale and then you’ve got a double right before an uphill climb to the top chicane. There is nice elevation change and you’ve got to be really accurate.
“I loved driving there and I actually finished on the podium there in Formula 3000, which was my first race back in single-seaters after two years out. In the 3000 car, it was a very physical race.
“I also qualified the Minardi there which was quite an achievement. It’s something that my team-mate didn’t manage. Driving the Minardi round there was a bit of a handful without power steering but you could still appreciate then just how good the track was.
“Obviously the sport has some very bad memories there. 1994 was absolutely tragic for motor sport so it isn’t full of great memories to say the least but without doubt it was a nice little circuit. More than anything I think it’s the atmosphere. The Italians are always so passionate about motor racing.”
Sector Three - Kuala Lumpur
“Although I’ve been lucky enough to drive at some phenomenal last sectors, the one that stands out for me is Malaysia with its long straights.
“The main reason is Turn 14, the penultimate corner. The reason I love this tight right-hander is that it’s wide on the way in, which allows for passing moves and it’s technically a very tough corner for car set-up and driver technique because the apex and the exit are very narrow. It is also a super important corner because you need good momentum for the long back straights. It is extremely rewarding and challenging.”