Vettel confident of good result, but faces impossible task to beat Mercedes

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Defending Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel is feeling confident ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, but has admitted that a first win of the season is unlikely due to Mercedes’ clear straight-line speed advantage.

Mercedes-powered cars have excelled so far this season, whilst Red Bull – powered by Renault – has struggled. At the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the long straights and heavy braking zones mean that the advantage lies with the teams that have a better top speed.

Nevertheless, Vettel is feeling confident that he can secure a good finish, having won last year’s race and finished second in 2011.

“This year we are a bit down on power still so it will be difficult to match the Mercedes powered cars down the straights,” he explained. “But there are also some corners here and they’ve been good for us. We were in a good position in 2011 to win the race and we won here last year. I think we have reason to be confident but we know that [it won’t be easy].”

Vettel was happy to accept that Mercedes will once again be the team to beat in Canada, but he thinks that it might be closer than expected thanks to Red Bull’s advantage through the corners.

“Obviously we know they [Mercedes] have a very strong package a strong car and strong power unit,” he said. “How exactly it will pan out is difficult to say. We have to look after ourselves and do our best.

“The corners are very tricky and demanding here and you can make up a lot of time in the corners. Of course we will try and do our best down the straight but we’ll try at the corners.”

The German driver will hope to bounce back from his retirement in Monaco with a strong result, and a podium finish is certainly possible in Montreal this weekend.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”