Sebastian Vettel once stole Lewis Hamilton’s top spot and was distracted by seagulls on the Canadian Grand Prix track while P4 reminds the Mercedes driver of his first pole as Formula 1 ends a two-year absence from Montreal


Lewis Hamilton qualified fourth for the Canadian Grand Prix and was in somewhat better spirits than the last time he was in Montreal.

Formula 1 returned to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend for the first time since 2019 when Hamilton took a controversial victory.


Vettel beat Hamilton on the line, but didn’t win the race

Vettel swapped finish panels after Hamilton was crowned winner


Vettel swapped finish panels after Hamilton was crowned winner

The seven-time world champion started second behind then-Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel and ended up staying in that position for the entire race.

Vettel took the checkered flag but was demoted to second after a five-second penalty for a near collision with Hamilton on lap 48.

The two had enjoyed a fierce rivalry in Canada, and one or the other had won the last five races in Montreal.

In 2016 Vettel also finished second behind Hamilton and admitted being distracted by seagulls landing on the track which caused a blockage.

“(Hamilton) don’t brake for the animals,” Vettel joked. “You should give him a hard time because of this. Two seagulls at the first corner! I’m a racing driver, so I have to find some kind of excuse!

Yet at the last Canadian Grand Prix, the German was in no mood to smile as he swerved off the turn three chicane.

When he joined the team, he drove onto the racing line in front of the Mercedes driver, forcing him to slam the brakes to avoid a collision.

On hearing that he had been penalised, Vettel angrily told the team radio: “I had nowhere to go. They are stealing the race from us.

“Seriously, you have to be blind to think you can walk through grass and control your car.

“We’re lucky I didn’t hit the wall. Where was I allowed to go? It’s the wrong world.

Vettel’s anger continued after the race, as he swapped first/second place signs to have his Ferrari as the lead car.

Hamilton, who had imitated Michael Schumacher in winning for a record seventh time in Canada, was later mocked at the ceremony.

Vettel was still furious as he stood next to Hamilton on the podium


Vettel was still furious as he stood next to Hamilton on the podium

“All I can say is that I didn’t make the decision,” he said. “I don’t know what they boo.”

Ahead of the return this weekend, Vettel, now an Aston Martin driver, couldn’t help himself when asked why he loves Canada so much.

He replied: “Well, the last time I won here, huh. At least that’s how it feels. I’m done now, as you notice.

And ironically, as fan reaction got the better of his last win in Canada, Hamilton was fired up as he recorded his best qualifying position this season on Saturday.

In previous seasons, putting his car in fourth would have been a disappointment, but Mercedes’ current problems meant it was quite an achievement.

“Honestly I feel amazing, so happy,” he told Sky Sports F1. “P4 has never felt better if I’m being honest.

“Maybe when I was in my first year racing here in 2007, when I got my first P1 in qualifying, it was great then, I think it’s like that because it’s been a really, really tough year.”

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