Sebastian Vettel has said that he is happy just to enjoy the feeling of having shed the Montreal 'monkey' from his back, rather than viewing Sunday's victory in the broader light of another championship battle.
The German stretched his points advantage over the pack to 36 with his comfortable win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but it was the enjoyment of making up for last-lap heartbreak in 2011 and finally giving Red Bull its first win on the other side of the Atlantic that meant most to the triple world champion immediately after the race.
“To be honest with you, I care for the win today,” he admitted, “Obviously, you don't have to be a genius to know that you get more points than anybody else for that result but the championship is still long.
“I was in a different position this time last year and I was able to catch up quite a lot towards the end. I had very strong races, [while] Fernando [Alonso] was a little bit unlucky here and there and we were able to beat him. But this was ten races from where we are now, so I think there are so many things that can happen at that stage of the championship.
“I'm happy to stand on the grid and focus on the race, trying to win, and we will see later on if we are still in a strong position.”
Among the current circuits, just the new USGP venue at Austin now remains unconquered by Red Bull, but Canada was a particular target for Vettel and the team, not just because of the disappointment of losing out to Jenson Button two years ago, but also for the reception the grand prix gets from Montreal.
“Obviously we've had good races before, but it didn't come together to win,” he acknowledged, “Two years ago, I was very close, [but] lost it in the last lap. It was my mistake, so I made up for it today.
“I wasn't desperate to win here, [as] I think we've had strong results in the past, and I wasn't ashamed coming here having not won this race, but I was very pleased [to do so] because it's a very nice race. I think Lewis [Hamilton] had the privilege to win here three times and I think that, in terms of atmosphere, the whole city enjoys the grand prix.
“To me, this race belongs one hundred per cent to the calendar, because I think, for all of us drivers, we enjoy a lot seeing grandstands completely sold out, a lot of enthusiastic people, the whole town living the grand prix.”