Reuters - Sun, 27 Jun 15:05:00 2010
Mark Webber emerged unscathed and undaunted from a spectacular European Grand Prix crash that reminded Formula One how dangerous the sport can be and how safe cars have become.
The Australian provided the drama of the afternoon when his Red Bull rammed into the back of Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus and took off vertically before turning upside down and landing on the nose and roll bar.
It flipped again, one front wheel flapping helplessly on tethers, and careered into the tyre wall.
"Motor racing has just seen one of its luckiest days. That could have been a very, very bad incident," said Webber's former team mate David Coulthard.
The T-shirted Australian, joining a team photo in the paddock to mark team mate Sebastian Vettel's victory, showed barely a flicker of emotion when he talked to reporters afterwards.
"I was worried about any bridges or things that I could hit in the air. I knew I was a long way up," said the winner of two grands prix this season.
"The car, thank God, was very safe," added the 33-year-old, whose crash was reminiscent of the high-speed flips he had in a Mercedes sportscar at Le Mans in 1999.
"I'm okay. I lose some points but in the end, when you're up there, you're not worried about points.
"It was my Monaco and Barcelona winning chassis and one which has secured a lot of pole positions, so the chassis has been good to me," he added. "I remain incredibly positive, we go on, it's half way through the championship.
"Bloody hell, let's get on with it."
The Australian had started on the front row alongside team mate Sebastian Vettel but made a poor start and was running in ninth place at the end of the first lap. He had pitted for a change of tyres two laps before the accident on lap 10.
Webber said Kovalainen had sent out confusing signals and then braked a long way before he had expected him to, but Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne said the Australian should only blame himself.
"It's the responsibility of the guy behind to make the overtaking manoeuvre safely. He blatantly didn't," he said.
Vettel, who collided with Webber in Turkey while they were running on-two, said he had asked the team for news over the radio and was relieved to hear he was unhurt.
"Motor sport is dangerous," he reminded reporters. "It's what is written on every ticket...there's always a bit of a risk. I think it shows how high speeds are and what can happen, so you should never lose respect."
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton added: "It really shows just how safe and how much of a good job the FIA and Formula One has done all together, also with the circuits in terms of improving safety."
Team mate and world champion Jenson Button, third on Sunday, said it had been a massive accident.
"I think it shows how big an accident we can have and we can walk away," he said.