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Affable Aussie aims to exit F1 on a high

Story highlights

  • Popular Australian preparing for final F1 race at Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday
  • Red Bull driver looking to end a 12-year, 215-race career with a third win at Interlagos
  • The 37-year-old has won nine Grand Prix and been on the podium 41 times

There aren't too many tracks where Mark Webber can claim bragging rights over Sebastian Vettel but Interlagos is one of them.

The Australian, who bows out of Formula One at Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, is a double winner (2009 and 2011) at the famous old Sao Paulo track while his Red Bull teammate can only claim a solitary triumph back in 2010.

Many eyes will be on the German world champion as he looks to equal Alberto Ascari's 60-year record of nine consecutive race wins, but there will be others who will be quietly willing the Australian to a third victory at Interlagos in his 215th and final race.

"I think on Sunday it'll be a little bit different but it still feels like a normal race at the moment," Webber said Thursday.

"I'm looking forward to Sunday in many ways, in terms of pushing for a good result."

Webber, who is bringing the curtain down on a 12-year F1 career to pursue sportscar racing with Porsche, says he thinks it's the right time to bow out.

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    "You've to be careful not to test it too much in terms of your performance and what you used to be able to do. I still think I'm driving well but I don't want to be around not driving well."

    Nevertheless, Webber, who has had a fractious relationship with Vettel in recent times, admitted to frustrations.

    "I wouldn't be leaving if there weren't things I was happy to leave behind. If there were more positives than negatives, then I would stay," he said.

    "I still think there are certain situations in Formula One that are super-rewarding. Obviously driving the car on the limit at certain venues is still very satisfying, no question about it."

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    Webber's 12-year career has included nine victories and 41 podiums and he has twice finished third in the drivers' championship, coming closest to the title in 2010 when he finished 14 points behind eventual winner Vettel.

    The 37-year-old said he would miss the challenges and enjoyment of racing at circuits like Suzuka in Japan, Belgium's Spa and Monaco -- the other track where Webber has a brace of wins (2010, 2012) -- but it is time to move on.

    "It's inevitable that you're going to miss certain parts. The adrenaline and working with people like Adrian Newey (Red Bull's Chief Engineer), you don't get to do that very often. But there comes a time when you've got to let go. I'll still have good adrenaline next year with Porsche and that'll be a good balance."