MONTREAL (Reuters) - Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team endured another lost weekend in Canada, leaving Montreal empty-handed on Sunday despite starting from pole for the second consecutive year.
Red Bull have never won in Canada, the only circuit on the current calendar that is still resisting them, and the drought continued on Sunday as the German paid the price for a strategic error and ended up fourth.
“It was a difficult race today,” said Vettel, who made a late second pitstop after McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton had scythed past him and then Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to take the championship lead.
“I think Lewis deserved the win today no doubt, but we have learned a lot and will make a step forward in (the next race in) Valencia.”
Last year it was Hamilton’s hard-charging McLaren team mate Jenson Button who dashed Vettel’s hopes, overtaking the German on the final lap of a rain-hit race to steal victory.
This year it was tyre strategy that was Vettel’s undoing, with the world champion deciding to try and do one stop to Hamilton’s two.
Red Bull eventually called Vettel in but by then the race was lost and the battle was on with Lotus’s Romain Grosjean and Sauber’s Sergio Perez for a podium finish.
Vettel might have expected more after dominating final practice and qualifying but like many teams Red Bull have struggled to come to grips with new tyre compounds and regulations.
“We were going well on our tyres and at that stage it seemed our best option was to do one stop,” explained Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
”But then the tyres really started to go away, so we made a late call to go onto the super-soft tyres which enabled us to get back up to fourth position behind the one-stopping Grosjean and Perez.
“A tricky race but nonetheless we have still managed to salvage respectable points today.”
Editing by Alan Baldwin