Ferrari improvements help Vettel claim championship lead

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Ferrari improvements help Vettel claim championship lead

Formula 1

Ferrari improvements help Vettel claim championship lead

Sebastian Vettel praised the steps forward made by Ferrari after taking the lead in the drivers’ championship with victory in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Having secured pole position on Saturday, Vettel led away comfortably at the start of the race and again eased clear of any pressure following an early Safety Car period. Eventually winning by 7.3 seconds, Vettel took the lead in the championship as Lewis Hamilton came home fifth. When asked if it was an easy victory for him, Vettel replied: “No, it’s never easy.

“Obviously it was important to open the gap straight away. I was very happy with my first lap, and then there was a Safety Car, and I was like ‘no!’ But then I had a good restart, so I stayed out of trouble, and then I was able to open a gap gradually, control the pace. I think we had the right strategy and the right tire, so we could stay out and control the race a little bit from there, keep the gap stable to Valtteri [Bottas].

“In the middle of the race, I think after the stop, we had a sequence of… I don’t know, I had to change a lot of things on the steering wheel. At some point I was saying ‘OK when am I allowed to drive again?!’ I was looking down, changing something, then looking back. Obviously we were managing some things in the background.

“The car’s been beautiful today. It was just getting better, so we were able to match the gap and just control the race from there. At the end I was just praying the car stays fine, nothing would break. It’s been a really good weekend. Yesterday was perfect, Friday was difficult, but we bounced back.

“With the improvements we made for this weekend, mostly on the power unit, introducing a new engine helped us around this track probably a bit more than other tracks, but it was a team effort. It goes hand in hand. We had new oil, new fuel, our partnership with Shell is important. Getting everything together is the key. I’m just happy. It was a great grand prix to win.”

Vettel’s victory is Ferrari’s first in Montreal since 2004 and leaves him one point clear of Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, while Ferrari closes the gap to Mercedes in the constructors’ championship to 17 points.

–Chris Medland

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