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Canadian GP: Ferrari show their car skills as Sebastian Vettel flies

The Canadian Grand Prix had Ferrari deliver their upgrades while the ones planned by rivals Mercedes weren’t ready in time.

other sports Updated: Jun 12, 2018 09:25 IST
Raja Sen
Raja Sen
Hindustan Times
Canadian GP,Ferrari,Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF71H on track during the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 10, 2018 in Montreal, Canada. (AFP)

The cars made by Tesla — those quiet, quick electric things — have different engine modes. One, that lets your car go from zero to sixty miles an hour in less than three seconds, is appropriately called ‘Ludicrous Mode’.

That’s supercar speed in an electric car that seats five people. Tesla doesn’t stop there. The company releases software updates almost every year that beef up the firmware and actually make your existing car faster.

It is remarkable if you think about it, though Formula One teams have been doing this forever.

From race to race, F1 teams tinker with their cars throughout the season to wring out as much speed as possible. The Canadian Grand Prix had Ferrari deliver their upgrades while the ones planned by rivals Mercedes weren’t ready in time.

READ | Sebastian Vettel takes 50th win and F1 championship lead in Canadian Grand Prix

The Italian outfit had done their job magnificently, allowing Sebastian Vettel to take a commanding pole position on Saturday and an unchallenged win on Sunday, although behind-the-scenes workings of the engineers and aerodynamicists would doubtlessly have been more absorbing than the actual race, which turned out to be a processional bore.

The qualifying session gave us Vettel’s Ferrari ahead of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas ahead of the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, ahead of another Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, making the teams look evenly poised.

Vettel’s pole was imperious, but the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a track Mercedes are traditionally good on, while the Red Bull cars, fresh from Monaco victory, have mastered the faster, less-durable hypersoft tire.

None of this came into play as Vettel pulled away from the pack and was never in danger, and the statistic that will boost his cheerleaders most is that with this win, Vettel has now led more than twice as many laps than any other driver this season.

READ | Canadian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton feels Ferrari will ‘falter’ in F1 title battle

Despite those 209 laps in front this year, Vettel leads the World Championship by only one point. It is remarkable how he has clawed back the deficit to Hamilton, but it would have been good to see the British driver mount a challenge this weekend.

Hamilton was out of sorts, losing out to Red Bull’s resurgent driver Daniel Ricciardo during the pitstops and unable to keep pace afterwards. At one point Hamilton’s engineer reminded the driver that it was, indeed, “Hammer Time” — the popular name for Lewis’s own Ludicrous Mode — but the driver couldn’t turn it on this weekend.

“I’m giving it everything I can,” he barked back into the radio, frustrated that he didn’t have enough even to take fourth place and keep the Championship lead.

With his 50th win, Vettel has momentum going into Formula One’s only triple-hander a fortnight later: the French, Austrian and British Grands Prix will take place on three successive weekends.

READ | Lewis Hamilton hoping Mercedes have resolved tyre problems

The German has been overdoing the on-track hysterics, and this composed bit of flawlessness will steel him up. This was a race to forget for everyone else, though.

Canadian supermodel Winnie Harlow, for instance, waved the chequered flag too soon and effectively finished the race two laps too early. Sometimes the curtain must be lowered even while the fat lady is merely warming up.

(Raja Sen is a film critic who has been writing about Formula One since 2004. He shares his birthday with Michael Schumacher. Views expressed are personal.)