Mark Webber said he was proud that he chose to close his Formula 1 career by removing his helmet for his final slowing-down lap.
The Red Bull driver completed his journey back to the Brazilian Grand Prix parc ferme without his crash helmet after finishing second to teammate Sebastian Vettel. Webber admitted that getting the helmet off while in motion had been harder than expected.
“It’s not easy to get the HANS device away from the helmet so I spent half a lap trying to get the left hand side off,” he said. “I finally got it there but the cars are bloody noisy with no helmet on, I know that much…
“So it was really noisy, all the vibrations and you can hear lots of things that you don’t want to be hearing with the helmet on, that’s for sure.”
He said his intention had been to show the fans something different.
“In this sport, it’s not always easy to show the person that’s behind the wheel,” Webber explained. “We can in lots of other sports but in Formula 1 we’ve always got the helmet on so it was nice to drive back with the helmet off. The only time you’re seen with the helmet off is on the podium if we have a good day.
“In the last sector, I got it a little bit jammed, so I think the marshals were a little bit worried that I couldn’t turn left but in the end, it was fine.”
Webber added that he was also pleased that it was Vettel and Fernando Alonso who shared his final F1 podium.
“It’s been a real pleasure for me to finish today’s race like this ” to finish on the podium with arguably the two best guys of the generation we’re in at the moment,” he said. “I hold them in very high esteem. I’m happy with the finish and I’m happy to go and do something different now.”
The Australian will now join Porsche’s new LMP1 program for the Le Mans 24 Hours and World Endurance Championship.