Sebastian Vettel says playing 'Captain Hindsight is always easy' as he challenged those criticising Ferrari for its contentious strategy decision in the Canadian Grand Prix to consider what they would do with the same information.
Vettel established an early lead in the Montreal race after a magnificent start from third position on the grid, only for Ferrari to pit him early under a Virtual Safety Car period (which ended as he came into the pit lane) as part of an unexpected two-stop strategy move.
Forcing rivals Mercedes to revert Lewis Hamilton to a one-stop strategy, though Vettel retook the lead when his rival made his single stop, the defending champion put in a measured performance to move back ahead at the German's second stop before holding firm to the end.
With many questioning Ferrari's decision to pit Vettel when he did given its track position advantage – and apparent pace relative to Mercedes -, Vettel jumped to the defence of his team and took aim at those passing judgement.
“Captain Hindsight is always easy,” he said. “So put yourself in the shoes of the pitwall to make that call is quite tricky and you have to be really quick. Strategy wise I think we have a really strong team, I wouldn't go anywhere near criticising them because the guys are really on the money and very strong, reacting very well. This year maybe we haven't done the optimum job but overall I think we do better choices than other people.”
Tested on whether strategy had lost Ferrari another win – a nod to losing the Australian Grand Prix over a similar strategic move -, Vettel nonetheless says he will always stand firm with the team.
“In Australia you can argue with hindsight we would do another strategy. If it's that straightforward and easy to know what it's like, everyone is doing the right thing. Obviously we committed very early, we were hoping the Virtual Safety Car gave us a bit of an advantage and make a two-stop strategy favourable.
“I will always defend our strategy, it's what we committed to as a team. I think there were other people as well favouring the two stops, with hindsight maybe they would do a different job. But that's a decision we took as a team.”