x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Sebastian Vettel's troubles behind him as he grabs Canadian GP pole

The German double world champion put on another strong showing in qualifying, grabbing the pole for the Canadian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton was second quick.

All systems are go for Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing. The German will start the Canadian Grand Prix from the top spot on the grid.
All systems are go for Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing. The German will start the Canadian Grand Prix from the top spot on the grid.

 

MONTREAL // Sebastian Vettel, acutely aware his national football team were soon to kick off their Euro 2012 campaign, put the foot down Saturnday night to complete a blistering fastest lap in qualifying and secure pole position ahead of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.

Red Bull Racing's German world champion finished a closely-fought qualifying session at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 0.303s ahead of Lewis Hamilton of McLaren-Mercedes.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso will start on the second row alongside Mark Webber, Vettel's teammate, who won in Monaco last time out.

Vettel was dominant throughout the hour-long session and put his performance down to the ability of he and his team to learn from their mistakes.

The past two races have seen the 24 year old struggle, finishing sixth and fourth, as six different drivers have won the opening six races in what has become the most unpredictable season in F1 history.

He can be confident of a strong showing Sunday, however: Only once from his previous 17 pole positions has he finished outside the podium places.

"Life is always a little bit easier defending from the front," he said. "But this place is a crazy place and has produced some crazy races in the past. You need to take that into account too.

"This year is very different, a little mistake and you are quite far away. There is no longer one car that might fill the gap, there are 10, so instead of being third or fourth, you are suddenly 13th and your race weekend is completely different."

Last season, in a four-hour rain-swept epic race, Vettel spun off on his final lap while leading and was passed by a resurgent Jenson Button. The memory still pains him, but he is keen to replace it with more positive memories this afternoon.

"That moment hurt a little because the victory was so close. It is a tough race and easy to make mistakes and I accept the last lap cost me a victory. But it is 2012 now and we had a quite decent 2011, so it's not too bad," said Vettel, who completed back-to-back drivers' titles victories and also won the Constructors' Championship with Red Bull.

Vettel's performance was ominously comfortable, with the qualifying margin between the two constructors' cars proving the largest all weekend.

"It looked tight and I knew it would be within a 10th, but I think we had enough to make a bit more of a difference," Vettel said. "At the end of the day though, the advantage over Lewis is only eight metres on the grid."

In a season that has produced so many different winners, Hamilton is still waiting for his victory. He said he is content to continue picking up points at each race and rely on consistency.

"Of course, I want to win, but these guys are phenomenally quick at the moment," he said.

As Vettel rushed out of the post-race news conference to watch Germany take on Portugal, Alonso joked that he would be keeping a close eye on Sunday's match between his home country and his team's native land.

"If Spain beat Italy in football tomorrow, there won't be many people there when I come in for the pit stop," said the Spaniard with a grin.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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