Webber relishing return to the Nurburgring

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Mark Webber may have confirmed last week that he would be retiring from Formula One at the end of the season, but it is important to remember where his career really began to take off.

In 2009, Red Bull scored their first GP victory at the Chinese Grand Prix through Sebastian Vettel, leaving Webber winless as the season wore on. At the German Grand Prix, he made a good start but was given a drive-through penalty, appearing to scupper all hopes of the Aussie winning for the first time. He rallied though, producing an astounding performance to still win the race, causing a rather memorable radio celebration afterwards.

Ever since, the circuit has remained a favorite of Webber’s, and he is relishing a return to the Nurburgring.

When asked what his favorite memory at the track was, Webber said: “My first Formula One win there in 2009. That’s got to be my best memory from that circuit by far and one of the best of my whole career.

“It was such a special day and to win it in the style that we did that day was incredible.”

It did require a titanic effort from Webber and the entire team at Red Bull to claw their way back into the race, with the dominant Brawns struggling on the Bridgestone tires.

Webber is also happier to be racing at the Nurburgring than at Hockenheim, with the two circuits alternating as hosts for the German Grand Prix.

“I prefer the Nurburgring to Hockenheim; it’s got a bit of character about it, with some old school camber changes and old kerbs. The best part is turns 5 and 6, the fast left which goes into the tight right.”

The circuit is certainly a favorite among fans and drivers, and if the last two races there are anything to go by, we are set for a thrilling race on Sunday.

Hartley says debut F1 point would be ‘a dream’ from last on grid

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Brendon Hartley says scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut would be “a dream” after being resigned to last place on the grid for the United States Grand Prix following an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to replace Pierre Gasly for the USGP when the Frenchman was ruled out due to clashing commitments in Super Formula.

Despite having not driven an F1 car since 2012, Hartley came within one-tenth of a second of making it through to Q2 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, ultimately qualifying 18th.

“Obviously I’d love to be quicker but we knew we were starting at the back, so we put a lot of focus on long runs, getting the peak performance out of this Pirelli tire I didn’t get today,” Hartley told NBCSN after the race.

“In FP3 I had a good feeling. There’s a lot of quirky things to manage with these tires. Honestly I should be happy with how the weekend’s gone so far.”

The New Zealander will start last due to a 25-place grid penalty for changes made to his power unit ahead of practice on Friday, and is daring to dream of making the top 10 in his first race out of a sports car for more than five years.

“I don’t do the 24 hours completely alone!” Hartley joked. “It’s quick. It’s physical to drive. I’ll be happy to be done after an hour and a half.

“A point would be a dream starting from the back. If I can move forward and put a race together, I’ll be happy.”

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.