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Red Bull charge halted as Vettel finishes 4th in Canada, Webber a lowly 7th

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Sebastian Vettel’s late charge could not yield a podium finish as the Red Bull driver finished the Canadian Grand Prix in 4th position. Mark Webber winner of the last race in Monaco was 7th after a complicated afternoon where he was stuck behind a train of cars for a majority of the race. The result drops the Red Bull duo in the Drivers' standings to 3rd and 4th places, with Vettel just 3 points off leader Lewis Hamilton with 85 points, and Webber not far behind with 79 points.

Sebastian Vettel cast aside talks of an illegal floor on his Red Bull, and looked serene in his progress to claim pole position on Saturday. The German ace said this week that he had learnt a few tricks on managing his tyres better and that it helped him to extract maximum performance over the race weekend. His teammate Mark Webber was baffled with the lack of his pace in his Red Bull as he was six-tenths down on Vettel after Q3 to start from 4th place on the grid. The Red Bull team hoped to make it two wins on the run after Webber drove a controlled race in Monaco to claim victory.

As the race began, pole sitter Vettel got away cleanly to lead the pack heading into the first corner. Webber began the race on the soft tyres as he held onto his 4thplace. Vettel controlled proceedings up until the first round of pit stops as the Red Bull team was forced to pit Vettel ahead of schedule as both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were closing right on the back of his car. Vettel was the biggest loser after the pit stops as he was jumped by both Hamilton and Alonso to drop back into 3rd place. Webber had Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez right in front of him with both drivers yet to make a pit stop and seemingly on a one stopper in the race.

Webber regained 4th place after the pit stops panned out, but was a huge 11 seconds behind teammate Vettel, who was running in a strong 3rd place. Vettel and Red Bull blew their hopes of a podium finish by pitting Vettel 6 laps from the end of the race. There was a huge scare with 5 laps remaining as Vettel brushed the Wall of Champions but kept his composure and regained control to live to fight another lap. Vettel went past the struggling Alonso whose tyres had outlived its life to jump into 4th place, but despite being the fastest man on track, the reigning champion simply ran out of laps in the end as Red Bull had one of those days when they got their strategy horribly wrong. Webber finished the race in 7th place behind the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

Christian Honer, Team Principal: “A tricky race. Having been in the lead at the start, it was obvious early on that we were a little bit harder on the tyres, which necessitated Sebastian to pit earlier than we wanted. That permitted Hamilton and Alonso to get the jump on us. Then there was a dilemma as to whether we do a one or two stop race. We were going well on the tyres and at that stage it seemed our best option was to do a one stop. But then the tyres really started to go away from us, so we made a late call to go on to the super soft tyres, which enabled us to get back up to fourth position, behind the one-stopping Grosjean and Perez. With Mark, again we were running okay early on. He had an engine hesitation in the first few laps, but then he settled into a good rhythm. Again we were heavy on the tyres towards the end of the stints and it was clearer with Mark to go to a two stop earlier, but unfortunately the one stoppers managed to get ahead. So, a tactical race, a tricky race, but nonetheless we have still managed to salvage respectable points today.”

Vettel: “It was a difficult race today. We found ourselves in third place, quite far away from Lewis. He decided to box again, but Fernando and I took the decision to stay out. I felt pretty comfortable on the tyres and obviously we were hoping to get the place back, but as it turned out it was the right thing to go for the second stop. We decided a few laps from the end to do a pit stop – a stop here is not so long, about 15 seconds – and in the end it was the right decision. Before the stop we were three four seconds behind Fernando, but we ended up six seconds ahead of him. It was a good call considering what you can lose with only eight laps to go. It’s easy now to analyse and know everything, but I think we learned a lot today and we’ve seen that races can be interesting until the very last lap. All in all it was a good weekend. We had a very smooth run up to qualifying and a very good qualifying – in the race we maybe lost some of that edge, but we were there or thereabouts. We have another winner today also, I think Lewis deserved to win today, no doubt, but we have learned more and will make step forward in Valencia.”

Webber: â€œI knew it was going to be mixed up today, but not that mixed up. In the first ten laps, we had a small issue with the engine which we had to manage, but then I settled into the pace. We pitted and came out behind the one stoppers. It’s hard to get it right here – if you push to try and pass you kill the tyres but if you wait, then you find you’re on the same strategy and finish behind them anyway. I think ultimately we were quick at times today and it’s good that we finished in the points. With hindsight we could have done a different strategy, but it’s easy to say that now and I’ve had worst days than today.”