Webber First Aussie on Pole at Monaco Since Brabham ’67
It says a lot about the gaps between Australian successes at Monaco when the last and only, Australian to have won the race is also the world’s oldest surviving Formula One champion. That man is Jack Brabham, who won the race in 1959 and is also the last Australian to have put an F1 car on pole at Monaco since 1967.
In a scintillating lap in the dying stages of qualifying for the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, Mark Webber finally broke that 43 year drought, setting the second fastest time ever for the circuit at 1:13.826. Jack Brabham’s 43 year old time stands proudly at 1:27.6, only 14 seconds behind despite so many years of technological advancement and development and the untold millions of dollars poured into making F1 cars go faster.
A pole at Monaco is not only very prestigious, but a fantastic advantage on the very narrow circuit; “This is such a drivers’ circuit; such a test for us all. The barriers are right there and so very close all the way round the lap so you have to be very accurate and consistent.” (Webber, via The Age).
It is the second pole is as many weeks for Webber, who clearly felt honoured and humbled to have followed in Brabham’s mighty footsteps; “To be up there achieving things that Jack Brabham achieved is special for me and difficult to take in just now… He is a legend in the Webber house and if it was not for Jack Brabham I would not be here now.” (Webber, via The Age).
In ’67, Brabham’s hopes for victory were smashed when he suffered an engine blow-up in the very early stages of the race, sending him spinning off the track and out of contention. Let’s hope that Webber gets a clean start tomorrow and follows it up with a great race. 43 years of drought may be over, but the real work still remains.