Jones backs Webber for championship after Monaco win
Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing celebrates winning the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. Photo: Paul Gilham
It was fitting the last Australian to win the formula one drivers' championship was on hand to see Mark Webber go a step closer to ending the 32-year drought.
Alan Jones watched on in awe as the Queanbeyan product claimed his second Monaco Grand Prix in three years to move into a share of second in the overall standings. Webber's victory lifts him alongside Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel and just three points behind championship leader, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Jones, who won the title in 1980, said Webber's ability to regularly finish in the points standings gave him a great opportunity to bring the crown back to Australia.
''Absolutely, there's a few of them in with a chance of winning the championship,'' Jones told The Canberra Times yesterday.
''Six different winners from six different races. It's going to be about those who can consistently finish on the podium, and I think Mark's more than capable of doing that.''
Webber has finished fourth in four of the six races this year and missed a points position just once.
In 2010, the 35-year-old came closest to winning the drivers' championship when he was involved in a four-way fight to the last race before Vettel won.
''Last year was a little bit of a mystery,'' Webber said. ''The gap [between Webber and Vettel] sometimes was really extreme and it was hard to understand why it was like that.
''The first five months were tough and I was in a different category from the other car. This year it's much more like 2009 or 2010.''
Webber swept to his eighth career GP victory - starting from pole, dealing with late rain and holding off Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg - and he was particularly pleased with capitalising on grid and track position.
It was Webber's second victory at the renowned Monaco street circuit, a feat Jones was unable to achieve in his illustrious career.
''Led twice and had mechanical problems on both occasions, wish I had won it,'' Jones said.
''It's certainly one of the toughest [tracks]. Mark's super fit and he's very smooth and it obviously suits him.''
Jones lauded the current series, which has varied greatly based on tyre performance and wear throughout a race, as one of the best ever.
''I remember the days when people didn't like formula one because it was too obvious who was going to win,'' he said.
''When Michael Schumacher was winning all the races for Ferrari it was too boring, it was too predictable. The same people are saying it's too unpredictable. I think it's fantastic. Monaco was absolutely choca block.
''It's all about those who can manage tyres and strategy, and to a degree, that's what's Formula One's about.'' with AAP