Porsche went 1-2 in Sunday’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, although perhaps not in the order of cars that many envisioned going into the race.
After finishing second, Mark Webber offered a simple explanation why he, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard weren’t able to be the trio that delivered the manufacturer its first overall win at Circuit de la Sarthe in 17 years… with the No. 17 car… to deliver Porsche its 17th overall Le Mans win.
“We weren’t quick enough. Simple as that,” the Australian said in the post-race press conference.
A one-minute stop-and-go penalty in the 10th hour for overtaking during a safety car period proved a setback, but not the ultimate death knell to the team’s chance.
“Even without that, I don’t think it would have been enough.”
He added, “slow zones are a heavy feature of this race. We saw with the No. 8 Audi (Loic Duval then driving), he got the entry wrong.
“It was hard driving in and out, with a lot of traffic. Brendon missed a light. We pushed hard early from the outside. But the visibility was extremely limited. I had to take the penalty four hours later. I don’t think that was the difference to victory.
“Still, congrats to our teammates on the 17th win. The 19 car deserved it. If we can’t do it I’m glad it’s them. Thing is no one remembers second,” added the driver whose Formula 1 career frequently included hard-luck runner-up finishes.
Webber noted the mentality difference in racing at Le Mans, now making his second consecutive start and scoring his first race podium.
“Endurance racing requires a different mentality,” he said. “The pace difference is endurance racing. It’s not psychoanalyzed like F1.
“You go with what you have, and you have it for the race.
“In our case, we had a good car, but we weren’t quick enough.”
The bright side for Webber, Hartley and Bernhard is that the trio was the top-scoring LMP1 car of full-season entrants, in the double points race.
That will undoubtedly play dividends for their championship hopes the remainder of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.