Say what you want, but Mark Webber is not a wimp. This is a man whose Twitter name is Aussiegrit. I don’t know what Twitter is, let alone why anyone would have such a name on it, but Fabiana assures me it’s quite meaningful. So there.
Anyway, after Sunday’s crash I’m getting these calls from Mark, asking me “Bernie, you’ve been around for so long, Do you remember Peter Dumbreck at Le Mans, ten-odd years ago?
I tell him, of course I do, why d’you want to know? He says, I can’t help but wonder if I was airborne longer than Peter in that accident.
I say, listen Mark, nobody’s wondering whether you were airborne longer or shorter than Peter Dumbreck or the Wright brothers or whoever else. What does matter is, your hitting the tyre wall with 240 km/h is no picknick so the only thing everybody wants to know is if you’re all right. Airborne, for goodness’ sake! Are you sure your head’s not damaged?
He does have a point though. I remember these Mercedes, back in Le Mans ’99. The things had a design flaw that caused them to take off quite spectacularly at inconvenient times. Mark’s car did a few backflips during qualifying but his little mishap was soon eclipsed by his teammate during the race. Peter Dumbreck got out of the slipstream of the Toyota in front of him and what followed was one of the most spectacular flights in automotive history.
So now our Canberra milk kid is glued to his TV screen as we speak, rerunning both accidents over and again to see who had the longer flight time. If that isn’t Aussie grit, I don’t know what is.