Which 'three magic words' halted Sebastian Vettel's tilt at another fastest race lap achievement?

Red Bull Racing had to pull Sebastian Vettel back into line once again, after the German attempted another crack at claiming the fastest overall race lap during Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel’s chief race engineer, Guillaume ‘Rocky’ Roquelin, had to resort to three simple words after the three-time World Champion clocked a fastest, or ‘purple’, opening sector of the four-kilometre circuit

Having comfortably led for all but three of the race’s 70 laps from pole position, Vettel was coasting to an easy win, which was his second of the season.

A man knowledgeable in Formula 1 records, Vettel also likes to notch up the fastest lap of the race as well, usually ignoring the impositions of his team not to take undue risks.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Auto Motor und Sport after the race, “But I told his race engineer to bring him under control.”

And so ‘Rocky’ – who would join Vettel on the podium to collect the Winning Constructors’ trophy – tried a different tactic to bring the 25-year-old under control.

It was a simply three-word statement: “Monaco, 1988, Senna.”

 
  Fastest Lap Leaders No. % / GP
1. Michael Schumacher DEU 77 25.08%
2. Alain Prost FRA 41 20.60%
3. Kimi Räikkönen FIN 38 20.77%
4. Nigel Mansell GBR 30 16.04%
5. Jim Clark GBR 28 38.89%
6. Mika Hakkinen FIN 25 15.53%
7. Niki Lauda AUT 24 14.04%
8. Juan Manuel Fangio ARG 23 45.10%
=. Nelson Piquet BRA 23 11.27%
10. Gerhard Berger AUT 21 10.00%

* Statistics up to an including the 2013 Canadian GP

And being a man knowledgeable in the achievements of the champions before him, Vettel backed off straight away, recalling the the tale of how the legendary Ayrton Senna threw away certain victory at Monaco 25 years ago when he lost focus and crashed.

Vettel had to be reminded of Senna's 1988 Monaco Grand Prix crash in order to slow down“Ok, ok – I’m just kidding,” was his quiet response over the team radio.

Rather more irritating for Vettel was the fact that the fastest lap honour instead went to his teammate Mark Webber, whose tour of 1:16.182 (at an average speed of 206.080km/h) was registered on the penultimate lap of the race.

With eighteen fastest race laps to his name, Vettel sits equal-fifteenth on the overall honours list of fastest lap achievers, one notch behind Fernando Alonso, who has nineteen to his credit. The pair sit well behind Kimi Raikkonen, who is third on the all-time list with 38 – behind Michael Schumacher (77) and Alain Prost (41).

Interestingly, Senna – a man considered by many to be the among the fastest in the sport’s history – rarely translated his one-lap qualifying prowess into the same result in race conditions: the Brazilian has just 19 fastest laps to his credit.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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