Sebastian Vettel outclassed his rivals and delivered one of his most dominant performances ever to win the Canadian Grand Prix for the first time, in fact it was his and Red Bull’s first ever Formula 1 triumph in North America, and with that consolidated his championship points lead while signalling his intent to capture his fourth world crown in as many years.
What a great win, a text book win, pole position, you seemed to win it at ease. Tell me about it.
Sebastian Vettel: Thank you. Thank you everybody. I think it wasn’t that bad for us, I think. Yeah, great race, I had a very good start, which was important and then I was able to really go with the car and yeah, obviously on the supersoft we saw the tyres were falling apart but I think we were just as good as everybody else. I was able to build a gap and then kept that gap basically the whole race. At some stages we had a full pitstop on hand and it’s a little bit easier then to control the race, control the gaps etcetera. Great race, great job by the team. I had perfect pitstops even though we had some time on hand. And also for North America, I think it’s a great race for Infiniti. All in all, a very important race for us to win. Finally we get it off the list. Very proud of that. The sun came out today. Couldn’t get any better.
You’ve never won here before, nor indeed has Red Bull. So what does it mean to get the monkey off the back?
SV: Yeah, obviously we’ve had good races before but it didn’t come together to win. Two years ago I was very close. I lost it in the last lap, it was my mistake, so made up for it today. Great feeling, as I said. Great car today by the team and I think we were able to really pull away from the rest of the field, which was most important to then control the race. I could really enjoy every single lap. Difficult at stages through the traffic but as I said, great and …
You must be very happy first of all to have won here finally and for Red Bull Racing as well. But there were a couple of moments where you very nearly touched the wall and you went wide as well. What happened in those two instances?
SV: Obviously I was pushing very hard at the beginning to get away and open a gap and yeah, I think it’s Canada, you obviously go close to the walls here or there, sometimes a little bit closer than I wanted but fortunately I didn’t brush the walls. I’m really just trying to just open as much of a gap as I can. I felt I had more pace in the beginning of the race, it’s difficult to foresee what’s happening later on, when you swap tyres, also in terms of range – how far we were going to get on each set of tyres. We weren’t sure if it was a one-stop or a two-stop. So all these things you don’t know so it’s good to have a little bit of time on your hands, which was the reason why I pushed very hard in the beginning. Obviously it was clear quickly after the first stint that we had a good gap and controlled it. Obviously it was difficult with the traffic etc, but I think we had a great car and we always had enough pace on hand to react and control the gap. In the end I went straight in turn one. I think I could have saved or caught the car, but I didn’t want to risk a spin. So I decided, should I stay should I go, then I decided to cut the corner, slowed down. Obviously there was traffic again with a backmarker, so I let him by to really make sure I rejoined the track in a safe way, which cost a lot of time. But yeah I was just a bit too late in the first corner heating the brakes.
You had a dominant victory today. You’ve won three of seven races so far this season and you’re leading both drivers’ and constructors’ championships, but despite all this, you’ve probably been the most vocal critic of the tyres. I was wondering if you had revised your opinions on the rubber, given your performance and your continuing strength.
SV: Well, I think it’s pretty simple. The criticism we had or I expressed was not based on performance. I think it was based on safety and I’m sure if you ask other drivers, maybe they weren’t that strong in the press, maybe they think they have an advantage with this sort of tyre, but we had some occasions this year where the tyre suffered delaminating, the top layer came off for not exactly known reasons, probably debris but you will always have some pieces on the track. I think it’s not possible to have an entirely clean track everywhere and I think that has been the criteria. Every time I complained about balance or the tyres and their behaviour, every time as I said as well that on that day there were other people doing a better job and first of all we had to get to their level to start complaining about performance but obviously when you say something, it’s in fashion, these days to take what you like instead of probably publishing the whole answer.
What happened again on lap 52?
SV: As I said, I was a little bit too late into the first corner, lost the rear on the way in. I could have stayed on the track but I wasn’t sure. It was quite tight, obviously you have the right hander following immediately and I didn’t want to risk a spin so I decided to cut and make sure. I lost four or five seconds in that corner compared to normal, so I think it was fine. It just seemed to be the safer option to avoid the spin and carry on that way. I was just a little bit too fast. That’s what happens. Fortunately there was no wall so I was lucky.
After you took the chequered flag, you sounded that you were very pleased to finally win in Montreal. Was that important to you and the team?
SV: Yeah, I think it is important to us, but not because… I wasn’t desperate to win here. I think we’ve had strong results in the past and I wasn’t ashamed coming here having not won this race, so I wasn’t desperate when I got up this morning and thought ‘I have to win, I have to win.’ But I was very pleased because it’s a very nice race. I think Lewis had the privilege to win here three times and I think that in terms of atmosphere – Fernando touched on it – the whole city enjoys the Formula One Grand Prix. We have a lot of spectators. I think it was good today to have sunshine, it was quite bad in terms of weather yesterday, but there were still a lot of fans and obviously today, again, a fantastic atmosphere and to me this race belongs one hundred percent to the calendar, because I think for all of us drivers we enjoy a lot seeing grandstands completely sold out, a lot of enthusiastic people, the whole town living the Grand Prix. I think it’s similar to the Grand Prix in Melbourne in a way which is also not a race track, it’s in the middle of the city as well, so I think we enjoy that, and I think that’s why we were very happy or we are very happy today.
How important is this win today; beside the win, how important is to gain seven points in the standings and maybe to get quicker to the critical point that Fernando was talking about?
SV: To be honest with you, I care for the win today. Obviously you don’t have to be a genius to know that you get more points than anybody else for that result but as Fernando said, the championship is still long and obviously I was in a different position last year at this time and I was able to catch up quite a lot towards the end. I had very strong races. Fernando was a little bit unlucky here and there and we were able to beat him, so we were able to come back but this was ten races from where we are now so I think there are so many things that can happen at that stage of the championship, I’m happy to stand on the grid and focus on the race, trying to win, and the rest we will see later on if we are still in a strong position. I think there’s enough of you reminding us if we’re not, you are there as well.