A doubtless highlight of the recent Canadian Grand Prix was Sebastian Vettel’s fight back through the pack as he recovered from a first lap clash with Max Verstappen, in particular his dramatic move to get passed the Sahara Force India of Esteban Ocon.
After Vettel’s early pit-stop to change his damaged front wing, the championship leader was in damage limitation mode as his main title rival, Lewis Hamilton, cruised to a dominant victory in Montreal. The question was: how much was Vettel willing to risk in order to climb up the field?
Running sixth in the closing stages of the race and closing on the squabbling Force Indias of Ocon and Sergio Perez, Vettel gave us the answer with a his dive down the inside of Ocon on the dusty line into turn one. It was a gutsy move with Ocon having to run off the track to avoid a potential incident.
Vettel himself thought the move to pass the rookie Frenchman would be “fairly straightforward”.
Talking to crash.net, Vettel said: [It was] Full risk! I wanted to get past, full stop. I was surprised because I was so much faster and I thought it should be fairly straightforward to pass them, but also the tow effect is smaller and the loss of downforce is quite big so you I was sliding quite a lot and more than I thought.
“They had a run at each other into Turn 13 and 14 and I hooked up the exit, which was good, and then I committed half way down the straight and said I go down the inside no matter what.
“Esteban had a bit of a wobble and I reacted to that and it was really slippery on the inside and I just made Turn 1, which was fine and enough, so I’m happy with that.”
Vettel went on to overtake Perez too to limit the championship blow delivered by Hamilton. The German’s lead in the title race is now just 13 points.