Mark Webber ended a trouble season in which he has been comprehensively out-driven by Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel by getting his first win of the year in Brazil.
The Australian set fastest laps on each of the three final laps of the race, and described the victory as ‘very important’ for him after his difficult season.
“It feels very good; it's always nice to win,” he said. “The battle with Sebastian wasn't a strong battle in the end because he had a problem, but even so, my pace was strong and I felt very good in the car. It's a nice way to finish the year. I felt good in the car and getting the fastest laps at the end was very rewarding.
“Looking back, it wasn't the greatest season for me, but also not the worst. I had a weak start to the year and wasn't able to capitalise on misfortune from others or put myself in a situation to win fair and square, which is what you want, but in motorsport you take the victories when they come.
“So, it was a very important win for me today and for the team to finish on a high is great. I really enjoyed the last few laps. This is a great track for the team and we have gained three wins in a row here.”
Vettel was leading until the occurrence of a gearbox problem encouraged him to let Webber through. In second place he still maintained a good race pace and had no problem holding a decent gap to third place man Jenson Button.
“I got the message we had a problem, which was a shame as we had a great start to the race,” said the world champion. “After that, it was obvious that that I had to shift early and save the gearbox. I hoped it would recover so I kept pushing, but it didn't happen and then the target was to see the chequered flag.
“Mark had a great race and deserved to win. I got second and I'm happy to have a trophy. It was a great end to the season; to finish with both cars and a one two is very good. I would have loved to have won the race, but nonetheless we had a great season. It's really incredible – going into the season we thought we had a competitive car and that maybe we could win some races, but it has been phenomenal.
“The team has been faultless most of the time and raised their level massively compared to the last two years. We enjoy what we do and it's nice to come into the garage each day and see everyone with a smile on their face being happy. That's the main thing – we love what we do and are passionate about it.”
Team principal Christian Horner was delighted to round off the season with the perfect result and gave a brief summary of just what Red Bull have achieved this year. “It was an incredible race,” was the evaluation of Horner. “To sign off the year with a one-two finish is a fantastic way to end the year.
“The race was dominated by trying to manage the problem that Sebastian had; he did an unbelievable job to keep his car alive to the end of the race. The problem appeared on lap 5, due to a gearbox that was losing oil. Temperatures were therefore creeping up, but he adopted his driving technique and did an awesome job to get the car to the end.
“Mark was not far behind at the time and Sebastian conceded the lead. Thereafter Mark drove a fantastic race and had a very deserving victory to sign off what has been an unbelievable year. To have won 12 grand prix and defended both World Championships is fantastic and the timing's right to thank every member of the team for all their hard work.
“I'd like to also thank Renault and all our partners and obviously a very special thank you to Red Bull and Mr. Mateschitz for all the tremendous support they have shown us all year, without which none of these results would have been possible.”