Sebastian Vettel attributes his pole position in the Canadian Grand Prix to Ferrari delivering him with an “incredible” car following a difficult Friday.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the pace in all three practice sessions in Montreal, with Vettel struggling on Friday and saying he was unhappy with his car’s handling. By qualifying the German was much more competitive and pulled out two impressive laps in Q3 to beat Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas by less than 0.1s, and he suggests the turnaround from yesterday’s position is significant.
“Yesterday, we were in a bit of trouble,” Vettel said. “I wasn’t happy with the car — we had some problems, and I just couldn’t get the rhythm. Yesterday was very difficult but today I switched on. I guess I woke up the right way.
“The car was incredible in qualifying — it just kept getting quicker. On my final lap, I had a small mistake. There was a little bit more, but I’m still happy. Thanks to the team; thanks for fixing the car yesterday after I hit the wall a little bit. A very good day.”
Elaborating on his small mistake, Vettel says he was searching for small improvements between his two runs in Q3 and was unsure which of the two laps was going to prove to be quickest.
“I was very happy with the last qualifying lap, very happy with my first lap. Maybe in the first half of the circuit a bit more. The second approach, I found that little bit, and now I thought, ‘OK, now I just have to repeat what I did before,’ but I struggled and I lost a little bit of time. I crossed the line and wasn’t sure if it was going to be enough … Big relief when I heard it was enough.
“Yesterday was really difficult but being on pole here with Ferrari means something extra. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve… Gilles is huge for Ferrari and Canada is linked to that name. It’s a great result.
“A lot of Ferrari fans — probably a lot of them from back then as well when they were kids. So, great to carry momentum we’ve had in qualifying so far this year, even though the last race was a little bit less so. It’s great when you have a session like that.”
Vettel complained about traffic in Q2 that forced him to abort a lap on hypersoft tires, but having already set a quick enough time to advance on ultrasofts he insists he was never intending to improve his lap.
“No, we didn’t [want to start on hypersofts]. It was a very smooth session, to be honest. We were just trying to figure everything out. Q1 was smooth, Q2 was smooth and so was Q3 in the end. We’ve seen the last couple of years people were doing a preparation lap and two push laps. For me it was straightforward — the first lap was there.
“In terms of strategy we did what we wanted to do. I don’t think the hypersoft is a good race tire. I was a bit surprised the Red Bulls chose that, but I guess they have their own reasons.”