Sebastian Vettel admitted that he was surpried to only finish fourth in the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver had started the race on the prime tyres – allowing him to take the lead after both McLarens and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari had stopped. However, after he too had to make his mandatory change, Vettel found himself emerge behind the three drivers and thereafter struggled to match their pace, after developing a gear box problem.
Meanwhile Mark Webber was handicapped from the start after being handed a five place grid penalty for changing his gear box before the start. Although the Australian started the race brilliantly, and led for a large part, he too was forced to change tyres in the latter stages – relegating himself to fifth.
Sebastian Vettel – 4th: “I was surprised that I came in for my first pitstop as the leader, but came out in fourth. I think everything we predicted to happen from our side was the case. The others came in early for new tyres, as we expected. Usually though, their race would then be over because they should come out in traffic, but that wasn’t what happened. When we came out from our pit stop, they were ahead of us, so we need to understand what happened there. Otherwise, I had a gearbox problem from around halfway through the race, which meant I had to slow down. Also, due to lapped cars, I lost six seconds to Jenson in two laps, so I was unable to fight for the podium. But, it’s good that we got these final positions. Coming into the weekend we were not the favourites, but actually we had very good pace and we surprised some people with that. We couldn’t really show our real pace during the race, due to the way it unfolded, but it’s promising. It’s a close battle at the top of the table and, as we have seen, things can change very quickly. There is no reason to panic from our side, we have a very good car and we’re looking ahead to Valencia.”
Mark Webber – 5th: “Tyres played a huge role in the race today and, in the end, we did the best we could. I have mixed emotions after the penalty this morning (Mark took a five place grid penalty due to a gear box change). I had a good first few laps at the start, but that took its toll on the first set of tyres, so I needed to pit a little earlier than I would have liked. In the second stint I was ahead and was monitoring the gap to Lewis. I was moving away a bit at the start, as he was pacing to get to the finish. I was trying to keep my pace constant, but in the end the tyres didn’t want that pace and they go away from you. It’s virtually impossible to keep the tyres from degrading here, no matter how slow you drive. In the end it wasn’t really a surprise to come back out from my second pit stop in fifth, as I knew people in front had been packed up tightly behind Lewis. We then turned the car down to save it for the next race. We expected this to be a tough event and in the end we were closer than we thought. I wanted to get some champagne today, it didn’t happen, but we’ll be back.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “It was an interesting race this afternoon. We tried something different strategically with the hard tyre, but despite managing to get our cars into a onetwo position, we didn’t have the pace to pull away on the hard tyre. We adopted different strategies for the two cars in the middle part of the race, putting Sebastian onto the soft tyre while putting Mark onto the hard. Unfortunately, halfway through the race, Sebastian had a gear box related issue, which we had to manage to ensure the car got to the finish. Mark finished just behind him after starting seventh on the grid. We shouldn’t be disappointed with fourth and fifth, they are still valuable points in both Championships and they have been gained at a circuit that we always knew we would be exposed at.”
Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer Track Support: “In terms of the result, it wasn’t such a great weekend. We scored some points, but not as many as we expected after yesterday’s qualifying result. Having said that, this track is very hard for engines and the positive thing is that we had a trouble free weekend, which is encouraging.”