Sebastian Vettel admits he is overjoyed with his first pole position in 17 races after beating Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was on provisional pole after the first runs in Q3, but Vettel hit back with an impressive final lap to beat the championship leader by 0.2s. It marks Vettel’s first pole position since last year’s German Grand Prix and only the second for Ferrari this season, and the German says he enjoyed himself so much he wants to repeat the attempt.
“Obviously a great day,” Vettel said. “It’s been a while, mostly for the team — the last couple of races have been quite tough. So coming here and showing the stronger form than we have had in the last races was positive. We knew the track would suit us but still we have to do the job.
“The car felt better and better through qualifying. It was not easy with the interruption with the red flag. I’m still full of adrenaline — I’m really happy, I really enjoyed it. I wish I could do it again, just for the fun of it.
“I had to pace myself a bit in the first two corners as getting the tires to grip up wasn’t straightforward. But after that it was a joy. The car was shouting, ‘Keep going, keep going!
“I wasn’t sure if Lewis was improving –he’s normally pretty good around here. I wasn’t sure if it was enough. And then they screamed on radio, ‘Pole position!’ It was amazing. But it’s only half the job — it’s a long race, difficult to fight and keep them off — but from where we start, it looks like a good race.”
Asked about the particularly strong reaction from both Vettel and his race engineer on the team radio, Vettel said: “I was just excited.
“This is one of the tracks where you need to dare going very close to the walls in many places. It is very bumpy, very rough. If you get it right, it feels great. I think I got it quite right, then you finish the lap and you’re full of adrenaline.
“I saw I was a big chunk down and improving when I crossed the line. I didn’t know who was coming behind and then they screamed, ‘Pole position!’ It was just pure joy, mixed with adrenaline. I don’t know — I’m not a singer but I was screaming quite hard.”
Ferrari’s straight-line speed advantage has been central to its strong performance so far this weekend, and Vettel says that gives him confidence for trying to turn pole position into victory.
“Obviously there was a reason why we were able to put the car on pole today. Tomorrow, it will be a close battle — we know our strengths and we know our weaknesses. We’re very quick down the straights, not so easy to pass but we will see, it’s a long race. In terms of pace, we know it will be close, and we need a perfect race to fight for the win.”