The German comes into the Canadian Grand Prix on the back of his second DNF of the season, his Monaco race lasting little longer than the RB10’s debut in Melbourne, but remains his usual effervescent self when discussing the battle to close the gap at the front of the field. Red Bull is gradually marking itself out as the main protagonist to Mercedes but, with the German marque having won each of the six races to date and opened out a 141-point advantage at the top of the constructors’ championship, even Vettel was sounding a little jaded.
“We are fired up,” he insisted in response to being asked how soon he needed RBR to be a serious threat in order to maintain a shot at the title, “We are doing our best, but the gap is very big and therefore it is not that easy to close it. In Monaco, [the fight] was probably tighter than the race result suggested, but I hope [we will be competitive] very soon.
“[Mercedes] has won every race since the start of the season and, wherever they had the chance, they have finished 1-2. Never since 1988 has a team been that dominant. We will have a couple of bits here, but we will have to wait and see how competitive we are. The gap is very big and it is not as if you can come up with a completely new car in terms of the regulations – there is not that much room in terms of new things to test and try – so we will have to wait and see where we are here, and then we will go from there.”
Canada has not always been kind to Red Bull – Vettel’s victory there in 2013 was his first at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – but, despite initial pessimism, the four-time reigning world champion could not keep his enthusiasm hidden for long.
“I think, historically, we’ve always struggled a little bit here,” he reflected, “Obviously, our approach in the past wasn’t to be the fastest down the straights and, this year, I think we are a little bit down in terms of power, so it will be difficult to match the Mercedes-powered cars down the straights. But there’s also some corners here and we’ve been competitive here in the past. We were in a very good position in 2011 to win the race and won here last year, so I think we have reason to be confident.
“We just have to look after ourselves and try to do our best. We know that the corners are very tricky and demanding here, but you can make up a lot of time there. We will still try to do out best down the straights and be better than everyone else in the corners!”