Webber: Vettel the best, Maldonado out of his depth

Mark Webber inteviewed by Wheels Senior Journalist Alex Inwood

Aussie F1 ace Mark Webber spills the beans on his former rivals.

MARK Webber has labelled his former Red Bull teammate, and bitter rival, Sebastian Vettel as the best driver on the current Formula 1 grid.

And in his typical, no-nonsense approach, he says Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado is easily the worst.

Speaking at Wednesday night’s Australian Motoring Awards, which culminated in the Mazda MX-5 winning the Wheels Car of the Year, Webber revealed that he considered Vettel, Fernando Alonso and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton the most talented drivers of the current F1 crop.

Mark -Webber -podium -win“If you’re talking Formula 1, the good boys always find themselves at the front and the good guys always find themselves in the best cars,” Webber said.

“Lewis [Hamilton] has always been an incredibly fast, naturally gifted guy in all conditions and he’s very, very insensitive to tracks and to light rain and drizzle. It’s these sorts of things that makes the calibre of a very, very fast and phenomenal driver.

“Someone like Seb [Vettel], he’s very good at the resources, at pulling the whole team together and getting everything around him and filling in his weaknesses. He’s exceptional on that front.”

Webber said he still rated two-time world champ Fernando Alonso, despite the fact the Spaniard endured a horrific 2015 season in a McLaren that struggled with a new and unreliable Honda engine.

Mark -Webber -celebrates -champagne -podium“Fernando, I wouldn’t say he’s running out of puff, but his motivation I think at the moment is challenged for sure.”

Webber also named 18-year-old excitement machine Max Verstappen as a driver with incredible raw talent.

“But those three [Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso] are on a very, very, high level. And if I had to pick one, I’d probably pick Sebastian, in terms of pulling the whole juggernaut together and getting the whole team going, which I think he will do at Ferrari shortly.

“He’s notoriously consistent and unfortunately I was on the receiving end of a lot of that, but he’s pretty handy. Lewis has a little bit more of that mind-management challenge, whereas Sebastian is true to form in the Germanic fashion of that delivery.”

Mark -Webber -Porsche -RacecarWebber and Vettel were teammates at Red Bull Racing for five seasons (2009-2013), where they endured a volatile and at times openly hostile relationship that climaxed in several on-track clashes.

Quizzed about who was the worst driver he’d ever shared a track with, Webber didn’t hesitate.

“Probably Maldonado,” he said. “He’s out of his depth and just shouldn’t be there. He’s making up the numbers basically.”

Maldonado, who drove last year for Lotus, has earned an unfavourable reputation as an on-track pest after a spate of crashes. He’s even sparked the creation of websites such as ‘Has Maldonado Crashed Today?’, which tells visitors how long it’s been since the Venezualan was involved in a prang.

Despite his reputation, Maldonado has an F1 win to his name, having won the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix driving a Williams. 

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DISCUSSION

9 Comments
  • Worst drivers Ericsson and Maldonado, Roberto not needed, and which is why I will never want teams like sauber and lotus succeeding.
  • Alonso was never rally top in qualifying (not even when cheating). That's why it's between Vettel and Hamilton. Those two are on the same level, one better than the other on different days. However, what Vettel brings to the team and thus the team in return to the driver, Vettel is unparalleled. Vettel is the true #1 in my opinion.
  • Marc Webber is just a fantastic guy!
  • @WEBBER FAIL! Webber nearly had the 2010 title
  • Alonso is arguably the most gifted. But his character will prevent him from ever shinning again. It's a team sport. It's not tennis nor golf. That's why Vettel wins. And Hamilton. You have to be a leader
  • In as much as I respect Webber's opinion, I still strongly believe that Lewis is the best F1 driver currently. His natural instinct makes him fun to watch. He is like watching Barcelona FC playing the game of football. I honestly think that he should only be compared to Senna.
  • What people fail to realize is that Webber actually is a great driver. It is not that vettel had poor teammate. Vettel clearly isn't yet seen as a true great but, time will tell. In all this mess between vettel and Webber, it wasn't vettel who lost on reputation. It was Webber who got hit the most. Alonso is a great driver too, but he is just too bad a person in general, which leads to poor team choices at key moments. Even that, time will tell. Hope he gets to win another championship because that's all he's in for right now. It will make a story for a good movie. :P
  • ********! Webber & SV were at different stages of their careers, put Mark in that car when he was early 20's would have been a different story. Even Michael wasn't as good in his last days of racing. Have you had your head in a hole, Red Bull management did not want him beating Seb.
  • Webber had the best vehicle in the field, his team mate wins 4 championships, he wins a few races Frankly Webber was way in over his head, not like Danny, he is the real deal!