Sebastian Vettel admits that his third successive pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix owed more than a little to good fortune, as tricky conditions made finding a perfect lap near impossible.
The German topped two of the three phases of qualifying, but conceded that he, along with the two drivers sitting alongside him in the post-session press conference had probably been among the lucky one who timed their runs, or got a clear track, at just the right time.
“It was quite tricky today and, when you were on the circuit at the right time, then you can be faster than everybody else,” he reasoned, “I think us three up here, we got away with it and mostly used the track in the best condition, but you can never really say that you have always been out when it was absolutely at its best, and that makes a big difference. We're talking easily half a second, a second, two seconds per lap.”
Vettel's fortune also stretched to Q2, where he admits he got his timing all wrong when it came to restarting the session after Felipe Massa's accident. Unlike some of his rivals, who were left scrabbling for positions, Vettel was already safely inside the top three when the red flags flew and had enough in hand to escape with a place in Q3 despite not filing another timed lap.
“I wasn't part of that group [jostling at the end of the pit-lane] and, actually, I did a mistake there because I was too late getting out after the red flag,” he confided, “I didn't want to join the train and get stuck but, obviously, we left a little bit too late and I didn't get to do a timed lap at all.
“Fortunately, I made it through to Q3 [as] the time we set before was good enough – but we didn't get a run in and we were supposed to. I messed up the timing a little bit there but, fortunately, it didn't cost us anything.”
With the weather forecast for Sunday remaining unsettled, the underlying concern surrounds the number of suitable tyres available should it remain wet, with teams burning through their supply of intermediates during qualifying. With not enough rain to warrant full wets, but not enough grip to switch to slicks, the weekend has been all about the inters, but Vettel seems unfazed by the prospect of having to run on worn rubber.
“I don't know if there's anybody who can give a precise forecast for every corner [and], as we saw today, it was really tricky in some places, then drier than expected in other places – and the next lap was completely different,” he acknowledged, “It's a bit difficult to foresee how the weather is behaving tomorrow but the forecast, I think, looks a little bit friendlier than today so, at this stage – the last thing I heard at least – we expect dry conditions.
“But we'll see. It doesn't really matter. We have a couple of tyres left - lots of slick tyres but, also, in the rain, we should be in decent shape. We don't have a new set [of intermediates] left but it was only a very short run in the last qualifying. I think the sets we used, one was completely new and the other just scrubbed so, yeah, I think it's tricky.
“Everyone used up their intermediates to qualify as high up as possible, but the bottom line is I think we're in good shape regarding tyres for both dry and rain conditions.”
Red Bull has yet to win in Canada, despite Vettel's run of poles, and the German is not about to predict success for 2013.
“I think it could be an interesting race with mixed conditions,” he pointed out, “It's a long one, 70 laps, and a lot of things that can happen in every single lap.”