Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2016

‘Suicidal’ seagulls a distraction for Vettel

2016 Canadian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel encountered an unusual problem with the local wildlife during the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver revealed in the post-race press conference a pair of seagulls had caught his attention while he was being chased by Lewis Hamilton in the opening laps of the race.

Bird, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2016
Montreal’s bold wildlife caught Vettel’s attention
“I was a bit distracted,” he admitted. “There were two seagulls. I think it was a couple that wanted to commit suicide. They were at the apex of turn one.”

“Lewis obviously didn’t care so he made up quite a bit of time,” Vettel joked, “about half a second, but I didn’t do that couple that favour to say goodbye for good, so by the time Lewis came around they just flew off.”

“Wasn’t fair! I brake for animals, Lewis doesn’t but…”

Vettel was leading the race at that point but lost his advantage soon afterwards during a Virtual Safety Car period when Ferrari called him into the pits. However Vettel defended his team over the strategy call which potentially lost him victory.

“We committed fairly early to that strategy and I think I was probably the right thing to do in terms of getting to the chequered flag the quickest way.”

“But obviously we lost track position and we didn’t expect that the soft tyre that Lewis put on… first of all the ultra-soft and then the soft would last as long.”

“Myself, I was also surprised to see how long the supersoft lasted and then the soft tyre lasted until the end. As Lewis said, we could have kept going. The degradation wasn’t maybe as high as we expected. That’s maybe where we lost the race.”

“But I want to make one thing clear: I’m not a big fan of blaming anyone or anything. I think it was a great weekend for Ferrari.”

2016 Canadian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “‘Suicidal’ seagulls a distraction for Vettel”

  1. For the ones who missed the hilarious interview…here it is!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpYeiQmgq70

    You’ve gotta love Seb!

    1. @neelv27 To avoid any confusion, that’s not the interview quoted above. Great to see Vettel and Hamilton laughing it up after the race though.

      1. That was an amazing moment. Bernie, if videos like this go viral it will make wonders to the sport!

    2. One of the funniest interviews I have seen in F1, great to see Vettel and Hamilton joking around while Sky tried to find the clip.
      The reaction when they finally found the clip was priceless as it looked like Vettel was alone in spotting the seagulls.

      Good job by the presenter to let them continue for so long, it was TV gold.

      1. @keithcollantine: Yup, you’re right. I thought, that’s where Seb started off.

        @xusen: Indeed, one of the best interviews I’ve seen in a while. Wasn’t same old robotic answers. I remember a similar styled interview at British GP 2010 between Jenson and Rubens.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GVt_59QA14

        1. @neelv27 There’s video of Vettel scattering the seagulls too:

          https://twitter.com/f1fanatic_co_uk/status/742317378294407168

          1. Vettel must have gone for the kill next time for the revenge! Those gulls paid with their lives messing with Vettel

        2. @neelv27

          Thanks for sharing, great banter between DC, Rubens and Jenson, I miss those days of a competitive McLaren :(

    3. This interview was some of the best f1 tv I have seen in a while!

      They should start interviewing them 2 at a time from now on! It breaks up the script reading and makes for amazing tv!

    4. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      14th June 2016, 13:19

      @neelv27 @keithcollantine @xusen I think one of the nice things about this moment is that Hamilton used to have an agenda of utter contempt for Vettel. Whilst Seb was busy steamrolling the field, Hamilton and Alonso had a mutual love-in, and more than gently inferred that Vettel was only in his position because of his Newey machinery.

      However I think since the roles have been reversed, Lewis has mellowed his stance. Part way through 2015 you sense that Hamilton realized that Vettel will be the defining driver reference of his career, and the only man on the grid that can truly call Lewis his equal. Hamilton has always sought to compare himself against the very best, and now he has decided that Vettel is a worthy rival, relishes the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with him. Vettel by contrast, as one of the many charming threads of his personality, has always been quick to applaud excellence amongst his peers, whether it is Lewis, Alonso, Ricciardo or more recently Verstappen.

      It’s nice that the rivalry between the two best drivers in the world, as things stand, is underpinned by the utmost in mutual respect; which is a nice contrast with previous decades.

      1. @william-brierty Well said. I agree with your observation especially with Lewis whereby he really seems to value Seb more than his RBR days and I won’t be wrong either in my observation if the fans seem to have the same change as Lewis which was more evident on the Montreal podium whereby Seb was cheered, the same place where booing started in 2013.

        Now even fans see and appreciate Seb both on and off the track while the truth is that he was always funny! :)

      2. @neelv27 @william-brierty
        Excellent analysis, I agree the respect is there now and even last year during the many Nico/Ham awkwardness at press conference, it was Vettel making the jokes and Lewis holding his laughter. Nico is too serious unfortunately.

        I believe the freedom Hamilton has now and his general mood is totally different, getting out of McLaren was the best decision.

        I can draw parallels, I loved the first graduate job I had and the company as well, but after 5 years, you start to feel taken for granted and you need to a new challenge, it was difficult and emotional decision to make but I am much better for it.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          16th June 2016, 13:14

          @xusen – The fact that Mercedes have exploited Hamilton’s “freedom” to reach out to new audiences away from the racetrack, and to create a new, more rounded A-list celebrity, is just one example of how McLaren’s blinkered doctrines inhibit them.

          Another example is playing out now: there is no doubt that Helmut Marko would not have kept Stoffel Vandoorne on the sidelines for as long as McLaren has, because he knows a) that inexperience is well-compensated for by fierce natural ability, and that b) an incoming megastar can quickly attain the kind of global acclaim enjoyed by the sport’s giants. Button is where he is because of his experience, and McLaren must learn that experience is increasingly just a euphemism for drivers wanting to discourage the onset of fresher, brighter talents. A bit of a tangent, but you get my drift…

          1. @william-brierty Exactly, I mean look at Justin Bieber’s involvement with Hamilton, he has over 70 Million followers on Instagram and he posted about Lewis’s victory in both Monaco and Montreal.

            Looking at the comments, you will see many people asking what this sport is and who that guy….. this sort publicity is what the sport could use to attract new younger fans, which is currently not helped by the move to pay TV.

            I am not a social media expert but I am sure this sort of publicly is expensive.

  2. Good to see a driver back his team even following a poor decision. There are some on the grid who don’t.

    1. This was the 3rd race this season where Vettel had a great shot for the win. Until some fateful strategy decision that is.

    2. It sure is nice to see Vettel support his team when they lose like this. However I think it has a lot to do with his past success, as a four time world champion he has nothing to prove unlike for example Ricciardo. Vettel was also a lot grumpier when things didn’t go his way in the past.

    3. @petebaldwin It does indeed put Ricciardo’s championship winning hissy fit at Monaco in perspective…

      1. 10 x worse than Sulk-meister Lewis the year before (and a similar loss, indeed worse IMHO.)

        1. I dunno, the pit at Monaco was a pretty big blunder. The move to pit in during the VSC made sense as it looked like Vettel couldn’t keep up on a one stop strategy given how poorly Vettel’s pace was on his last stint compared to Hamilton, who despite having fairly good graining on his left front managed to be able to hold the margin.

          …..Of course it’s no surprise, Merc have a better car, Hamilton prefers more down force and Ferrari have something in between what Merc and Williams have, great straight line speed/acceleration, but not necessarily a solid performer. Might also have something to do with the way the tire pressures were set last year too??? If there is more weight on the rear of the Ferrari, then mandatory higher pressures in the rear will suite the Ferrari more. But I digress.

          The blunder at Monaco, last year, for whom I attribute to Lewis’ race engineer, even if Lewis suggested it, really isn’t in the same class as Ferrari trying to pit early during the VSC to meet their 2 stop strategy.

          1. *misunderstood reply. But I think RIC had a pretty clear grievance, and he got screwed again this race too :)

    4. I’m not even sure it was a poor decision, except in hindsight. Hamilton ran 25 laps on the ultras, and then switched to the softs– and had another 45 laps to go to make it to the end. Historically (2012 springs to mind), one-stopping Canada ends very badly (“would anyone else like to pass the 2005/2006 world champion?”).

      If Hamilton had stopped again, it would have been very close, and Vettel probably would have won.

      Even without another stop, Vettel’s tires were 13 laps newer than Hamilton’s, and he should have been able to catch Lewis by the end… but for whatever reason, his tires didn’t last as well as the Mercedes.

      1. If you watch the interview, Hamilton admitted that plan A for Mercedes is also a 2 stop. But when Ferrari pitted that early, they just change it to 1 stop. In hindsight 2 stop is better choice, Ferrari just going in too early.

        1. Only reason for ferrari to pit early, and righly so, was due to VSC period, they expected it to last a little longer, similar to hamilton’s blunder last year monaco…

          what also destroyed chances for vettel was the damn back markers not moving out of the way! i m not a fan of vettel but damn am i annoyed! haryanto and gutiarez i think both were idiots, dont know if they got any post race penalty or not, they werent moving over for 7-8 blue flags it seemed…even before corners, sometimes in the corner they dont slow down to let the pass finish…

      2. It didn’t have to do with his tires not lasting. He went wide twice while gaining on Lewis. That’s the only reason we weren’t in for a photo finish – driver error (and team strategy).

    5. Pete,( if I can call you Pete) I agree with you 100% .For the record let me ask if by “some” ( who don’t back their team )you are thinking of last year after Mexico where Hamilton said that Mercedes needed to give him a strategy to pass Rosberg or this year when Hamilton said that Mercedes needed to give him a car which could stay in the race ? Perhaps you are referring to Ricciardo’s post- Monaco comment that he was “screwed” by Red Bull or was it an example of another driver separating himself from the rest of his team where someone on that team made a costly mistake ?
      I must say that Hamilton is quick to praise Mercedes when they win but,he is quick to distance himself from the team when they lose., Does he not recognize that Mercedes has given him one of the greatest cars in the history of the sport and that the successes they have brought him far outweighs the mistakes they have made? He should be constantly grateful and he is not.
      Sebastian demonstrated that he is a class act .Not just a great driver but, a great champion in the true sense of the word and represents the sport so much better than Lewis or Daniel do ,although Daniel’s reaction was easier to understand that Lewis’ repeated negative statements . Lewis is a great driver but, that car is the real star of that team .Mr. Hamilton,be grateful that you are a big part of that team but, recognize that you win or lose as a team and ask how many wins you would have driving for Sauber or Manor . Lewis is great but, Mercedes brings more to him than he brings to them and the same ( although to a lesser degree ) can be said about Daniel and Red Bull .
      Anyway Pete, thanks for pointing out that in Vettel Ferrari has not only one of the the best drivers in F1 today ( and perhaps the best) but, certainly one of the best representatives of the concept of team in this or any sport. Good spot .

      1. Hamilton complains a lot for sure but he doesnt blame the team, he blames the problems, and team admitted for screwing his three races in a row… new clutch procedures and his PU issues etc… he doesnt distance himself from the team, he always says he win as a team loose as a team… He says he is grateful for the team, every race! Sometimes every driver makes comments in the heat of the race, but he talks them down like others…

        Lewis is great but, Mercedes brings more to him than he brings to them and the same? You cant be serious… Rosberg underpressure buckles like a paper tower! Rosberg is a second class driver due to his acceptance of second place all the time… Ham always demands more achieves more… He is one of the only drivers in the pit to have won a GP every year in his F1 career! With a good car, he beat his two time champ team mate in his rookie season, and lost the champ due to his rookie mistakes and his teammate screwing his races… Most of reliability issues are out of his control, but when he gets a reliable car, he fights to the end…

        Seb cracks under pressure too and he had many tempremantal comments and behaviour in the past as well… He can take jokes like hamilton, unlike ham/seb’s team mates, who never do…

        Comparing driving for Sauber/Manor is wrong, illogical at best, those teams hardly afford a season in F1 calendar, how will they afford Hamilton? Hamilton wouldnt drive for them either. So your comments comparing driving for those teams doesnt make sense, as if he were to drive for that kind of team, your expectation would be at similar level…

        All your comments points to pure love towards Seb, and clear hate against Lewis without any clear bases other than his comments at the heat of races, with Ric’s recent shambles, you are blaiming him for his passion to win!

        1. Mystic one. I don’t hate Lewis in fact I called him a ” great ” driver but, the fact is true that the car matters more to the Mercedes wins than does Mr. Hamilton. You said that Nico Rosberg is a ” second class driver” and yet in the Mercedes he is the current points leader and won 7 races in a row. That shows that the car matters more than the driver. Further I pointed out that Hamilton praises his team when they win but, its easy to be gracious when you win and much harder to do so when you lose.
          Note that after Mexico 2015 when Hamilton could not pass Rosberg, Lewis asked for his own strategist to tell him how to pass Nico .It seems that passing someone in a car which is the same as yours did not prove as easy as driving away from a grid in slower cars . Further, when asked earlier this year if he could still beat Nico, Lewis said all he needed was for the TEAM to give him a car which could finish . That is not being part of the team when things do not go well.
          Case in point .After Canada this year a reporter asked Romaine Grosjean why Haas was not in the points again and Grosjean said : “WE know that there is a problem and WE are working on it ” .Even when speaking of a negative Romaine said “WE” . To him its a team even when things go wrong and so it was ” WE” not the team has to iron out some issues with the car.
          Also note that after qualifying in Canada and as he pulled the car in Sebastian had radioed an apology to the team saying he was sorry that for a moment he spun the tires. He said he was sorry to a team which had cost him the race in Spain with poor tire strategy . To Sebastian that mistake did not matter because he is a classy team mate. Note also that a tire/pit strategy mistake probably cost Sebastian the Canadian race but, did he say a thing in the negative about it ? Vettel and Grosjean are true team players Hamilton and Ricciardo are not .
          As to Manor and Sauber, you say they can’t afford a Hamilton. Right they cannot but ,that was never the point . The point is that with the cars they run Hamilton could never win because its the car that is the main factor. A bad driver can lose with a good car but even a great driver cannot win with a poor car.
          Finally, you said I ” hate Lewis and “love” Sebastian. Wrong on both counts. I said Lewis is great. Most people would say that you don’t call someone you hate ” great” and they would be right. He is a great driver but, not a great teammate and thus not a great champion nor a class act.
          As to Vettel, I never once cheered for him till he signed with Ferrari but I have recognized what a classy team player he is and since he watched out for the seagulls in Canada I have also recognized what an exceptional person his is.
          Is Hamilton a great driver ? Yes. Is Vettel a great driver ? Yes . The point is that Vettel is more and Hamilton is not .

          1. A selection of fake evidence. The seagulls made you realise, lol. Hamilton is known for being an animal lover, if that’s your criterion. It’s not tho.

      2. Richard—if I may call you Richard? thanks—who said, “We win as a team, we lose as a team”?

  3. Vettel is a great champion. And also Hamilton. The best drivers in the grid this season.

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