F1 Driver Review: Mark Webber

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After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

In third place, Red Bull number two in his final season, Mark Webber…

MARK WEBBER

No. 2 Red Bull-Renault
2013 Stats: 3rd Place, 0 Wins, 8 Podiums, 12 Top-5s, 15 Top-10s, 69 Laps Led
Average Start: 5.4
Average Finish: 7.0
DNFs: 4

DiZinno says: A perplexing year for Webber, who seemed as good as gone from Red Bull and F1 after the “Multi 21” fiasco at Malaysia. You got the sense he didn’t always extract the maximum of what was clearly the best car. You also wondered why, consistently, he either got off to terrible starts or bore the brunt of any Red Bull mechanical failure. Webber had his highlights with a pair of poles and a fighting tenacity in the second half of the season with a few podiums, and ultimately helped the team through to its fourth straight Constructor’s Championship. But frankly F1 needs him more than he needs it, and his departure will benefit both him and the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Estrada says:  Put in the shade thanks to the brilliance of teammate Sebastian Vettel, Webber still had a steady final season in F1 with two poles and eight podiums – four of which came in the final five events of the year. However, he did have multiple instances of bad luck as well such as losing a wheel in China, catching fire in Korea and having his alternator fail in India. Then there’s the matter of getting blanked by Vettel, 13-0, in terms of victories despite the RB9’s clear-cut superiority to the rest of the field. One can’t help but assume the “Multi 21” episode may have had him thinking a little more about what lay ahead in the future over the matters in the present. But considering how much Red Bull had become Vettel’s team, could he be really taken to task for such a thing?

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).