Sebastian Vettel offered one of F1’s more exotic excuses on Sunday by saying he had lost time in the Canadian Grand Prix by saving two seagulls from being flattened by his Ferrari.
“I think it was a couple that wanted to commit suicide,” Vettel said with a smile after finishing second to Mercedes’ world champion Lewis Hamilton at a chilly Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Four time F1 world champion, who had led the race until his first pitstop, continued the theme afterwards with some relish — hijacking Hamilton’s interview with Britain’s Sky Sports television for some more good-natured banter about birds.
“I feel that you’re using the seagulls. I feel that they were innocent,” said an amused Hamilton. “I saw you lock up and then the seagulls did move.”
Getting more into the spirit, he added: “Hey man, it was planned. You know I’m good with animals, right? Like Doctor Dolittle, I told them to be there and they were there.”
Vettel insisted he had a case, even if he then undermined it by stating: “I’m a racing driver, so I have to find some sort of excuse for why the hell you beat me today.
“I went into turn one and I saw this stupid couple of seagulls standing there, all relaxed,” continued the German. “My car’s red. It’s easy to see, it doesn’t blend in like yours.
“That’s what really annoyed me. There’s a red car coming and they stayed there.”
The last word went to Hamilton, who celebrated the 45th win of his career and fifth in Canada.
“I think I might have to buy you a couple of seagulls,” he said. “I think you need a couple.”
Ferrari believed two stop strategy right for long-race, — but race winner Hamilton’s tyres lasted longer than they had expected.
“I’m not a big fan of blaming anyone or anything,” said Vettel after finishing five seconds behind Hamilton at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. “I think it was a great weekend for Ferrari.
“We’ve had a difficult start to the season because we were never really able to show the true performance of the car and this was maybe the first clean weekend.”
Vettel revealed Ferrari had committed fairly early to a two-stop plan, adding: “It was probably the right thing to do in terms of getting to the chequered flag the quickest way.
“I was surprised how long the super-soft (tyre) lasted and then the soft lasted until the end — we could have kept going on it.
“(Tyre) degradation wasn’t as high as expected, maybe that is where we lost the race.”
Second place lifted Vettel to third in the World Championship standings with 78 points. Rosberg has 116 with Hamilton on 107 after seven of 21 races. (REUTERS)