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.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points

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Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

450s
2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

250s
2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Detroit
Indianapolis
Daytona
Arlington
Oakland
Tampa
Houston
Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

How to Watch Seattle Supercross
Dylan Ferrandis may return before SX finale
SMX develops “Leader Lights”
Power Rankings after Detroit
Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan
Results and points after Detroit
Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points