7 June 2014
F1 Canadian Grand Prix: Vettel happy to head ‘close’ battle for third
Sebastian Vettel admitted that he was delighted to come out on top of a close F1 qualifying battle in Canada but said raceday would be just as tough.
Sebastian Vettel said that he was fortunate to come out on top of what proved to be a tightly-fought scrap to be 'best of the rest' behind the two Mercedes in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.
The four-time world champion vaulted into the spot after his second and final run in Q3, before revealing that he had still not quite got to grips with either the first sector of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and continued to struggle with the set-up of his Red Bull RB10.
“It's very close to the people behind - I think four cars were with 5-6/100ths of a second so obviously I'm happy to be the quickest of those,” he said, “The start of the last lap wasn't great, as I still didn't manage to get that first sector right but, after that, I tried to take more risks and it worked.
“Sector two was very good through the two chicanes - especially the second one. I found a significantly better line and more time compared to earlier runs, and kept it together until the end so, all in all, a very good result. I think it was the maximum we could do.
“I think it was very, very tight between third and sixth, so I was lucky I got the last run right and it was enough. It's quite good to start third behind the Mercedes so we will see what we can do from that in the race.
“The record so far shows I haven't had the smoothest of races, so it's good to have almost a clean Friday and Saturday here. Hopefully, fingers crossed, we can have a good race tomorrow.”
Asked whether he would be able to challenge the Mercedes or would have to focus on the cars immediately behind him, Vettel said anything was still possible.
“It's a long race here, and strategy could be a bit of a surprise, so we will have to wait and see what happens,” he noted, “Williams is very, very strong here – they've got a very quick car down the straights. Generally, I think [all] the Mercedes-powered cars are looking forward to the straight lines tomorrow, but I'll try and stay as close as I can to those two [in front], maybe get some tow and then do the best I can. If we get the chance to attack them, we should go for it.”
Revealing that there had been no major improvements to the RB10 or its Renault engine, other than running a lower downforce package than at some previous races, Vettel admitted that he was still struggling to get to grips with the new breed of F1 machine.
“I'm always confident that, when I step into the car, that its good enough to make it,” he said, “We will have to wait and see [this weekend] but, in terms of fighting with the car, I am still not where I want to be and don't have it behaving the way I would prefer. But it's not like, last year, I was getting into a dream car and everything was smooth and perfect - I had to work very hard then as well but, this year, we're probably not tickling the right spots yet.”
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