Sebastian Vettel admits he had to “freestyle” with fuel-saving to ensure he made it to the finish of Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel crossed the line in first place but was demoted to second-place behind Lewis Hamilton after being hit with a controversial time penalty for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner following a mistake at Turn 3.

The German came under increasing pressure from Hamilton in the second half of the race prior to his mistake and revealed Ferrari had concerns over its fuel usage in the closing stages.

“Some laps I was saving fuel, some laps I wasn’t because I had to adjust given the gap I had,” Vettel explained.

“We did so many laps and I don’t remember the lap before or the lap before that, but certainly I had to react on the gap I had.

“So, when Lewis was closer I didn’t do fuel-saving and when he was a bit further away and I had a bit of a cushion I was trying to save as much as I can.

“I pretty much had to freestyle in terms of fuel-saving to make sure I finished the race with some fuel left.

“It may be that the lap before I was lifting off because he wasn’t as close, I didn’t try to re-invent Turn 3 after 50 laps.”

The FIA announced on Thursday that Ferrari will present its case to the Montreal stewards for why it believes the incident should be looked at again on Friday ahead of this weekend’s French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard.

Despite suggestions that Mercedes could argue it would have asked Hamilton to pass Vettel had the Ferrari driver not been penalised, Vettel said he never got the impression the reigning world champion was “easing off” at any point.

“Certainly it changed the race from that point onwards because I don’t know how much Lewis was backing off or not but the fight was on for all the race,” he insisted.

“I thought it was quite exciting, at least inside the car but also outside the car, after that probably less so.”

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