Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner believes that Mark Webber will head into the winter with fresh confidence for next year, after his victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Webber triumphed at Interlagos after teammate Sebastian Vettel suffered gearbox problems, but despite the circumstances of his win Horner believes the win will be enough to lift his confidence ahead of 2012.
"It is great that Mark has won a race," explained Horner. "I think it would have been very, very tough for him to have gone into the winter with Seb having won 11 races and Mark not having won a race. So for him, arguably one of the best races to win is the last race. It sets him up into the winter very nicely, and he will go away and reflect on this year."
Horner believes that the biggest lesson Webber will need to learn from 2011 is that Vettel has lifted his game incredibly, and that there is big progress the Australian must make to take the fight to his teammate like he did last year.
"Seb has been operating at such a high level this year, and that is what has compounded the issue for Mark," said Horner. "He has been up against a teammate in the most phenomenal form, operating at the most phenomenally high level, and this win will give a good confidence boost.
"It is his first win since Hungary last year, and he is third in the championship. Hopefully he will go away into the winter, have a bit of time off, recharge his batteries and come back stronger in 2012."
Horner played down the significance of any disappointment Webber may have felt in only beating Vettel through mechanical reasons, but said that he understood that was part and parcel of motor racing.
"I think if Mark is slightly muted, I guess it is because he would have loved to beaten Seb in a fair straight fight," explained Horner. "To have inherited the lead, any driver is going to take that.
"It is part of grand prix racing, but if anybody thinks that was concocted in any way – I can absolutely hand on heart guarantee you that based on the blood pressure on the pit wall you could rest assured that it was a genuine, genuine issue."