Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel finished fourth in the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve today, despite having to contend with gearbox problems for more than half of the race.
Vettel began the race in second, but the decision to start on the harder of the two Bridgestone tyres failed to pay off. Indeed in the end the German was unable to match the McLaren's of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari and he finished 28.6 seconds off the latter.
Speaking at the finish though, Vettel insisted that there is 'no reason to panic' and that the Renault-powered Red Bull RB6 will be much better in Valencia in two weeks time.
“I was surprised that I came in for my first pit-stop as the leader, but came out in fourth. I think everything we predicted to happen from our side was the case,” Vettel said. “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.”
Red Bull Racing team boss, Christian Horner meanwhile also put a positive spin on things and added that the 4-5 result – with Mark Webber one spot lower than Vettel in the sister car – was pretty good given they didn't expect to go well at this circuit.
“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 one-two position, we didn't have the pace to pull away on the hard tyre,” Horner added.
“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.”