Stewart backs Webber for title bid
Stewart, who was present on the podium when Webber collected his trophy after winning the Monaco Grand Prix, said the best was still to come from the Australian.
"I rate him highly," Stewart told Reuters. "He's 33 years age and I think the early 30s are the best time for a racing driver."
"I know I felt it, I came of age when I was about 30...how you went about your preparation, how you got your team to work for you. Mark has served a very long apprenticeship of not being recognised as being a future world champion...of working in a very journeyman-like fashion.
"Both of those wins that he had in Barcelona and Monaco were incredibly dominant. The car is obviously very good but he's now got the maturity to make that happen in a very convincing way. I think he's got a good chance of winning the championship this year."
If Webber does succeed in winning the title, he will become the third Australian to do so after Jack Brabham and Alan Jones. And Stewart, who raced against Brabham in the 1960s, said their styles were quite different.
"He [Webber] is quite a tactical driver. Maybe [New Zealand's 1967 world champion] Denny Hulme would be a good example. But he didn't win that many grands prix and I think Mark can go on and win quite a few, we haven't seen the end of him yet."
Despite his words of optimism over Webber's title chances, Stewart predicts a tough challenge from Webber's young German team-mate, Sebastian Vettel.
"I don't think you'd want to put very much money on one or the other. Most people would put their money on Vettel right now I should have thought, but after what Mark Webber's done, it's pretty even."