I was fortunate to be able to spend a little time with Mark Webber as he prepared for his last F1 race – the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. We met early on Friday morning, at the Grand Hyatt in Sao Paulo, and chatted together en route to the circuit. Mark’s demeanour, I think, said it all: he was happy with his decision to retire from F1; equally, he is looking forward not only to some time off with family, friends and menagerie but also to a new challenge with Porsche in 2014.
In Part Two of this week’s episode of The Racer’s Edge I wanted to chat to a few friends about Sebastian Vettel. Where does he sit amongst the all-time greats? What’s he like as a driver and as a person? How much more does he need to prove? And this provided me, of course, with an excellent opportunity to talk again to one of my heroes – to John Surtees, OBE. A lovely man and an F1 icon, John (or “Sir John”, as he would be if there was any justice amongst politicians) spoke with all the humility, knowledge and enthusiasm that befits the only man ever to win both motor-cycle and F1 World Championships. I was lucky to catch Sir Jackie Stewart as he was walking his dogs near Lake Geneva; and the phone connection wasn’t bad to Italy, either, where I tracked down one of the wisest of all journalists – Giuseppe “Pino” Allievi. A Ferrari expert – an F1 expert – Pino did not disappoint. As well as some intelligent thought about Seb and his place in history, Pino also gives us his view of Ferrari’s driver line-up in the medium-term.