SAO PAULO, Nov 27, 2011 (AFP) - A relieved Mark Webber won his first race of the year on Sunday when he took full advantage of Red Bull team-mate and double world champion Sebastian Vettels gearbox problems to win the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
Driving with great speed, precision and a near-flawless sense of judgement, the 35-year-old Australian came home 16.9 seconds ahead of Vettel to give Red Bull a third one-two of the 2011 season.
It was an excellent drive by Webber who delivered his seventh career win to make sure he finished third in the drivers championship behind Vettel and Jenson Button, who came home third for McLaren.
"I felt good all weekend," said Webber. "Seb did a great lap for pole, but today I had the rub of the green. It would have been nice to have a race with Seb all the way through but he had a problem.
"It's a win you'll take for sure because I've had bad luck or whatever you want to call it. It's an important win for me and the team to finish on a high.
"I enjoyed the last few laps. It's always nice when I could pit a bit later than people and cover people off. Nice way to finish."
Second-placed Vettel said: "It was a real shame for me as I had a good start and a very good feeling. Very early on I got the call to manage a gearbox problem.
"I had to turn down the engine and short-shift. It was getting worse through the race and I ended up having to use higher gears, but nevertheless Mark drove a fantastic race and he deserved to win.
"I don't like calling it bad luck. I tried to stay as close as I could to Mark and keep the gap to Fernando Alonso and then Button at the end.
"We had an amazing season and it would be over the top being upset now, so we take this second place. It has been a phenomenal year and a strong finish as well. We are all looking forward to the break and coming back as strong as this year."
Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said he believed Sundays win would ensure that Webber returned stronger next year.
"Mark's had a tough year, but he's kept his head down. He wanted to finish the year on a high after facing a driver in the form of his life and he's done that.
"I'm sure he'll come back stronger next year."