Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was in hot demand following the F1 Canadian GP with the press ready to ask him key questions which he responded well.
Following a solid Saturday where Vettel took pole, the German started off the F1 Canadian GP at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve handsomely ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and kept his lead until the chequered flag dropped – but he wasn’t the winner on paper.
An off moment at Turn 3 got Hamilton so close that he nearly took the lead but the walls perhaps saved Vettel as he defended the position well for few laps before and after the incident. The big bomb was dropped by the stewards when they gave him a penalty.
Once the FIA decided their way, a win looked bleak for Vettel as despite attempts to break away, he couldn’t shrug off Hamilton. He ended up second in the end after whole lot of radio comments and stopped his car near parc ferme and headed to Ferrari’s hospitality.
He did not wish to attend the podium but was persuaded to do so with Hamilton showing good gesture on the top step. Post all the celebrations Martin Brundle got few words from Vettel, but he only elaborated in the press conference when asked about many things.
Here’s his full comments made after the race along with the questions for clarity:
Q: What a difference 24 hours makes: complete euphoria of pole and the frustration of raceday. Can you just talk us through the incident at Turns Three and Four. What caused you to run wide on entry and is there anything you could have done differently when you were re-joining the track?
Vettel: Well, I lost the rear of the car, so obviously it wasn’t voluntarily going sailing across the track, not knowing how and in which fashion and so on I will be rejoining. I think it is pretty clear I was on the limit. I was pushing very hard throughout the entire race and… yeah. Obviously I was going through the grass and I think it’s quite commonly known that the grass isn’t very grippy. So – you agree? – and then I was coming back on track and just trying to, y’know, make sure I have the car under control. Once I regained control, made sure it was sort-of alright, I looked in the mirrors, and saw Lewis right behind me. As you said, yesterday we had the euphoria and the enthusiasm of a great day. I feel, in a way, the same today. I think we had a great race, the team did fantastic and, yeah, obviously I’m not happy with the decision the stewards took. I think you can understand. It feels a bit weird to sit here, not having won the race even though you crossed the line first. And as I said, I don’t think I have done anything wrong; I don’t feel I could have done anything different. I don’t know, actually, what the problem was. So… yeah. Not much more to say, I think, from my point of view. I think all the people out there, they probably agree with me.
Q: Where you aware of where Lewis was as you were rejoining?
Vettel: No! How? I’ve got two hands and I had them on the steering wheel, trying to keep the car under my control. So, I don’t know… I think we are pretty good at multi-tasking, driving these cars – but if it is required to drive… to catch the car once you come back from the grass or off the track, maybe one-handed, use the other hand to pull off a tear-off and maybe hit the radio button to talk to the team at the same time, I don’t qualify, I can’t do that. I had, as I said, my hands full, trying to keep the car somewhere in my control. Obviously I knew that Lewis was behind somewhere because he was, like, a second behind, but when I looked in the mirror he was right there. So I was obviously then racing him down to Turn Six.
Q: Sorry Seb to jump in that again, could you just talk us through when you realised you lost it. Did you think about… was it only that you wanted to catch the car or did you also think about to get back the fastest possible way – and did you lift or did you stay in the throttle?
Vettel: Look, I think it was clear what happened. I mean, what’s the point of going through split-seconds for an hour now? With all the respect, there’s nothing to add from what I said. You lose the car, I don’t do that voluntarily because the outcome is unpredictable. Once I manage to catch the car, obviously I realise that I couldn’t stay on track, couldn’t keep the car on track, slowed down, had to slow down, go over the grass really cautiously, lost a lot of time. Managed to get back on track with dirty tyres, and once I regained, sort of, control, being somewhere on the track, I had to check my mirrors and Lewis was right behind me, just to see where he is, not to, I don’t know, be in his way or whatever. So, that’s what happened. I’m not the first guy in the world of racing that had a mistake on corner entry and had to catch the car going through the grass, gravel or whatever.
Q: Sebastian, will you be appealing the decision, or will Ferrari be appealing the decision. And do you feel any sympathy towards Lewis being booed – given that he didn’t really do anything do anything wrong.
Vettel: I said, nothing to do with Lewis. I obviously understand that the people weren’t happy, as I wasn’t happy myself with these sort of decisions – but nothing to do with Lewis. It’s just not nice when people boo you, so that’s why I jumped in. I’m sorry that I interrupted his answer but I jumped in and said ‘don’t boo him, he’s done nothing wrong’. If anything he drove a great race, put me under a lot of pressure and I really, really enjoyed that. I think we share great respect amongst each other. Nothing to do with him.
Q: Sebastian, do you plan to go to talk to the stewards afterwards?
Vettel: I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know what’s the procedure now. I was just thinking that I really love my racing. I’m a purist, I love going back and looking at the old times, the old cars, the old drivers. It’s an honour when you have the chance to meet them and talk to them; they’re heroes in a way. So I really love that but I just wish I was maybe as good, doing what I do, but being in their time rather than today. I think it’s not just about that decision today, there’s other decisions. Just hear the wording when people come on the radio, that we have now. We have an official language, I think it’s all wrong. I think we should be able to say what we think but we’re not so in this regard I disagree with where the sport is now. You have all this wording ‘I gained an advantage, I didn’t gain an advantage, I avoided a collision’. I just think it’s wrong, you know, it’s not really what we’re doing in the car. It’s racing, it’s common sense. If there’s a hazard on track, obviously you slow down because it’s quite unnatural to keep the pedal to the floor and run into the car and then say, ‘ah, it’s wrong that the car was there.’ I think Lewis… obviously as I said, I rejoined the track and then Lewis obviously had to react. I don’t know how close it was or close he was. Once I looked in the mirror he was sort of there but for me that’s racing and I think a lot of the people that I just mentioned earlier, the old Formula One drivers and people in the grandstands and so on, would agree that this is just part of racing but nowadays it’s just… I don’t like it, we all sound a bit like lawyers and using the official language. I think it just gives no edge to people and no edge to the sport. Ultimately it’s not the sport that I fell in love with when I was watching. Obviously it hurts me today because it impacts on my race result but I think this more of a bigger criteria. Tomorrow, when I wake up, I won’t be disappointed. I think Lewis and myself we share great respect and I think we’ve achieved so much in the sport, I think we’re both very very blessed to be in that position so one win up, one win down, I don’t think it’s a game-changer if you’ve been around for such a long time, but as I said, I’m not happy about all this complaining and stuff that we see so many times.
Q: It’s an apology because it’s more about the same incident but none of us have driven cars with a thousand horsepower at the speed that you do. Obviously you didn’t have many options, you didn’t have much time to make them. If you had lifted off, would it have been dangerous, would the car have spun because the grass was so slippery? What would have been the reaction of the car?
Vettel: I lifted off, of course, I lost time. I don’t think it was faster that way, I think you agree. Yes, as I said, I was busy enough to keep it somewhere under control so of course, once I’d lost the rear, already I lost the corner, then I lift off and I just sort of stayed somehow in control over the grass and then came back, so I wasn’t flooring it. If I would have done that I would have crashed. So the priority at that point is just to survive, it’s not look around or going on the power or being fast or whatever.
Q: Seb, take us back to your state of mind as soon as you got out of the car? We saw you on the monitor, followed you into the Ferrari hospitality. What you going through? We’re all asking questions, are you going to race control, can you please take us back to that particular moment?
Hamilton: By the way, I stopped at the end, I thought your car broke down. I stopped to pick you up.
Vettl: I thought maybe, OK. No, I wasn’t looking. I parked the car in parc ferme, a different parc ferme, the one that is not for the top three and then went to get weighed and then at that point didn’t really want to join anything that was obviously happening after that. I wasn’t very heated up, obviously angry and disappointed but I think everybody understands why but I think it’s a matter of respect to show to Lewis and Charles and also the representative for Mercedes on the podium, to be part of the podium. Certainly it wasn’t the place where I wanted to be because at that point you just want to get out but yeah, also sitting here is not of my free will but I have to be here.
Q: Sebastian, you talked about wanting to race in the old days and obviously you’ve been around for a while. Do races like today, decisions like today make you question your future in the sport?
Vettel Well, I don’t know. Not ready, what time is it now? I’m not ready for this kind of question. I don’t know, I just feel that nowadays we look at so many things that maybe we didn’t look at in the past because nobody was really making a fuss. Now, obviously it’s worth making a fuss for everything because you have these decisions. I sympathise in a way with the stewards. I’ve said many times when I’ve been in there that they are sitting in front of a piece of paper and they’re watching the race and they also came back to me and say we agree but look, we have to do these kind of things so I think just the way we are doing these things now is just wrong but it’s our times, we have regulations for everything. We need to have this jacket when… I don’t know, it’s clear there’s a hole when walking down a pedestrian walk and there is a hole in the street because they’re doing construction work and there needs to be a be guy who guides to the other side of the road, otherwise it’s the construction company’s fault that you fell into the hole and broke a leg, but I think you’re just an idiot if you walk into that hole and break you leg but that’s a little bit how my theory is nowadays. The approaches are drifting apart.
Here’s how the F1 Canadian GP panned out
Motor racing community reacts to Sebastian Vettel penalty
Kevin Magnussen had to clarify his radio comments after the race