Formula One: Vettel says tyre strategy may spring surprise

Pole position winner Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg (centre) of Germany stands with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (left) of Britain and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on June 7, 2014 after the
Pole position winner Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg (centre) of Germany stands with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (left) of Britain and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on June 7, 2014 after the qualifying session for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix. Hamilton qualified second and Vettel qualified third. -- PHOTO: AFP

MONTREAL (AFP) - Sebastian Vettel claimed third on the grid for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix and then warned that unexpected tyre strategies could produce a surprise in the race.  

The defending four-time world champion conceded that he did not expect his Red Bull team to have the performance to fight with Mercedes for victory, but said strategy could dictate the outcome on a hot afternoon.  

Vettel said: "A couple of weeks ago, you would have expected that all the Mercedes-powered cars would be at the front.  

"We’re not on their level yet, but strategy will maybe have a few surprises with 70 laps in the race. Last year, there were surprises with the super-soft tyres.  

"Getting the winner’s trophy at the end is the target, but we have to make sure we get the best result." Talking about his best lap, which landed him third place behind pole-sitter Nico Rosberg and his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, he added: "It was very tight. I was not so happy with the lap.

"The first sector, I lost a lot of time, but the second two were good." Vettel had taken pole at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the last three years.  He added: "The start of the last lap was not great.  

"I still didn’t get the first sector right. The second one I found a significantly better line so all in all it was a very good result.  

"There are four or five cars within about five or six hundredths of each other and the Williams are really quick here. It’s a long race so the strategy could be a bit of a surprise. Williams have a very quick car down the straight."