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.