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Reflections on Canada: Vettel lays demons to rest

11 June 2013

Vettel sweeps aside demons of 2011

Sebastian Vettel is the kind of man who can dominate practice, gain pole position, lead from lights to flag whilst lapping every car in the field on his way, yet still be disappointed with not claiming the fastest lap of the race.

He wants every possible accolade and statistic in his favour by the time he reaches the end of his already glittering career. Sunday saw Vettel cast out a shadow that had been looming in his mind for twenty four months, victory at the Canadian Grand Prix.

It was that incident, in his most dominant season to date that saw him crumble under the pressure of the hounding Jenson Button, as the German put a tyre off the dry line to send him spinning. Vettel's face that day was a picture. Not of mourning or sorrow, but a vengeful one. It was a look of determination that he will one day put it right, and now he has.

Vettel has still somehow not quite grasped the love of the F1 world. Yet he continues to succeed in every possible area, including at the Canadian Grand Prix last weekend, where he laid a personal demon to rest.

Ferrari must improve qualifying performance

The Canadian Grand Prix was a perfect illustration of why Ferrari must seriously improve their performances in qualifying. Alonso had good race pace on Sunday and as ever demonstrated the intuition to get himself from an average, to a brilliant position in 70 laps.

The Spaniard claimed Saturday night that he could still challenge for victory on Sunday. Not a ridiculous statement considering the man behind the wheel, but imagine how close he could have come had he had started second or third.

Too often are Ferrari finding themselves without anything better than fifth or sixth to offer in qualifying, and it's making all the difference.

Hamilton, Bottas, Rosberg and Webber all stood in the way of Alonso having a clear shot at Vettel, his main championship rival, and even for Alonso's skills that was too much traffic to clear before Vettel inevitably escaped into the distance.

Ferrari must aim for better in qualifying. The Mercedes are, with the exception of Monaco, doing the perfect job of spoiling the party on Saturday and ultimately Sunday afternoons. It will be crucial. It will lose them yet another title if they do not address it.

Lewis is a winner, but must see bigger picture

When Lewis Hamilton first signed on the dotted line to become part of the AMG Mercedes team, he knew he was taking a big risk. Just one win in the previous three seasons and a car that even a seven-time world champion could not conquer, meant Hamilton was taking a gamble.

But after just round seven of the 2013 season, to be fourth in the championship with three podiums is a pretty good showing. Not only is the Mercedes performing better than many would have expected, he is a much more focused, free Lewis Hamilton.

So to see Lewis going back to his mellow, subdued tone when responding to the media after the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday was disappointing. Ok he'd just been passed by his greatest rival in Fernando Alonso, but to only drop one place and earn a podium finish is a solid result.

The victories will come for Hamilton. As much as he is a winner, he did not sign up for a title challenge this season. He must look at what his expectations were at the beginning of the year, and what they will be for next year, where rule changes should favour him. Once that is considered, he's doing a fine job.

Tough lessons taught to rookies in Montreal

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve proved more than a tough test for many of Formula One's youngsters last weekend. Valtteri Bottas, the star of qualifying on Saturday with his brilliant third place, had a disappointing race where he gradually slipped down the order to finish 14th. On a more positive note, he handled the start brilliantly from the lights. Many a time last season we saw the chaos rookies can cause when they qualify toward the front of the grid. Bottas was not bullied, but was also sensible in his decision making.

Giedo van der Garde on the other hand, did not display sensible decision making on Sunday. His sloppy collision with the passing Mark Webber ended in front wing damage for the Red Bull driver. Fortunately for Van der Garde it did not end Webber's race, but at 28-years of age and a lot of motorsport experience, he shouldn't be interfering with the front-runners.


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