Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has paid tribute to Mark Webber's determination and grit after seeing the Australian deliver his maiden victory in the German Grand Prix.
Following the drama of the winter for Webber, who broke his right leg and shoulder in a bicycle crash in November, he was in totally dominant form throughout the Nurburgring weekend to take a popular triumph.
For Horner, the victory was made even more impressive because of the fact that he believes Webber is still not back at total 100 percent fitness – meaning he will continue to get better.
"I think lying in a hospital bed in Tasmania in November, he could never have dreamed about today," said Horner about Webber's victory. "Certainly we had some concerns, because he forgot to tell us that he broke his shoulder as well. So, the comeback that he has had has been remarkable – and it is testimony to his determination and commitment that he has got himself back, he has got himself fit and he is driving better than ever."
When asked by AUTOSPORT about his current fitness levels, Horner said: "I don't think he is still at full fitness. He cannot run. He is carrying an extra bit of ballast in his leg which Adrian [Newey] is not too happy about, but I think that he has dealt with the injury. He has very good support and it is not compromising his driving but I don't think he is certainly at the fitness level he was 12 months ago."
The manner of Webber's triumph, following teammate Sebastian Vettel's similarly dominant victory in the British GP, has left no one in doubt that Brawn GP now has a serious challenge for the world title. Horner said he was not going to get too carried away by the fact that the momentum now looked to be firmly behind his team, as he predicted an "exciting" second half to the season.
"I think we have taken 20 points in the last three weekends out of them, so I think that our car is working very well," he said. "It is working well in a multitude of conditions.
"Obviously, their car has not suited the cooler weather of the last couple of events, whereas we have looked very strong. We have still got a big hurdle to get over to catch them, but we have made a good inroad into that this weekend as well as previously at Silverstone."
He added: "I think that we have got a car that we should be able to fight them in all conditions. We are pushing them very hard on development. We still have performance to come to the car and it will be a really exciting second half of the season.
"Budapest is usually quite warm, so we will see there. But I don't think the temperature was anything to do with today. I think the performance of the car was very good, the drivers drove brilliantly and there are no high speed corners here, so that was not a factor this weekend. So, we will see.
"Certainly the pendulum has swung in the past few events, but I am sure it will swing again in the next few events. We are just going to take each weekend as we can, just focus race by race and the championship will take care of itself."