Mark Webber was one of the most popular racers in Formula One before retiring in 2013. The Australian sports-nut was nicknamed "Aussie Grit" for his straight talking off track and his battling on it. "We know that it's very, very rare for people to be able to do the job that we do," says Webber of racing drivers.
"I loved karting as a youngster," Mark Webber, seen here in 1984, tells CNN. "I wanted to move up and drive something quicker and more challenging." The Australian's childhood dreams led him to a career in Formula One.
The Australian dived into F1 as a full time driver for the Minardi team in 2002. "Pushing the cars to the limit, pushing ourselves to the limit, we enjoy being in that tight envelope," says Webber on the life of an F1 driver.
Webber attended the funeral of his 2003 Jaguar teammate Justin Wilson in 2015. Wilson died from head injuries sustained during an IndyCar race. "You can unfortunately have fatalities in our sport," Webber says. "But we accept that."
Webber's F1 career took a turn for the better when he signed for Red Bull Racing in 2007. "Working with [Red Bull chief technical officer] Adrian Newey was really good, those guys get the best out of you," he reflected.
What's Webber's favorite F1 moment? "My first win -- Germany 2009," says the Australian, who was cast into the spotlight following victory at the Nurburgring.
But Webber's tenure at Red Bull Racing might be best remembered for his tumultuous relationship with teammate Sebastian Vettel. The German won four world titles with the team. "At the time it was horrible to manage the whole scenario," Webber looked back.
Webber bowed out of F1 with a typically unique farewell. He took his helmet off to wave to the crowd on the warm down lap of his final race at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2013. "I don't miss F1 a huge amount," the 39-year-old says now.
Webber promised to reveal the full story in his autobiography "Aussie Grit" which was published in 2015. But did he omit any juicy details? "I very rarely wash my hair," he admits to CNN.
If the book is made into a film, Webber picks fellow Australian and actor Eric Bana to play the lead. Bana meets Renault's double world champion Fernando Alonso in 2008. Both are good friends with Webber.
Webber, pictured with his long-term partner Ann Neale, enjoys watching sport in his spare time. The couple are seen here at the Australian Open in 2014. The racing driver reveals Ann also persuaded him to become a Manchester United fan!
After leaving F1 in 2013, Webber signed a three-year deal to race Porsches in the World Endurance Championships. "These cars are the closest things to F1 in terms of lap time," says Webber. "That's very important to me."
Webber has been back on the top step of the podium three times, winning in Germany, the United States and Japan with his teammates Timo Bernhard (left) and Brendon Hartley (center). Could an elusive world title be in sight?