Vettel confident Ferrari can still improve in Canada

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Despite concerning Mercedes with his long run pace during the second free practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix on Friday, Sebastian Vettel believes that there is still room for improvement at Ferrari in Montreal.

The German driver finished fifth in FP1 and second in FP2 behind pace-setter Lewis Hamilton, but the Briton admitted that he was concerned by the pace shown by Ferrari across the long runs in preparation for the race on Sunday.

Speaking after practice, Vettel admitted that he was disappointed to have lost time on track after a heavy rain shower limited running in the second session, but he still felt that Ferrari could up its game ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

“It’s a shame that we couldn’t get out anymore, but we did the maximum to prepare for Saturday and Sunday in a very short amount of time, I think we had only just half an hour,” Vettel said.

“We didn’t have so much running this morning, but everything went according to plan. This morning we had a look on a bit more fuel, trying to get an idea for the race: we didn’t know when the rain would come this afternoon, this is maybe the reason why we didn’t run so much like the others.

“About my race pace, I haven’t seen much of the others yet but the car felt right, now we have to see where we are. I think we can still improve. I am not entirely happy with the runs I had, but I think anybody was with the short amount of time we had today.”

Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was more upbeat after the session, believing it to be a complete contrast of his difficult weekend in Monaco two weeks ago.

“Today everything worked as we expected, we went on with our program trying as always to improve and we are quite happy with the way things worked,” the Finn said.

“The weather was a bit tricky: the rain was expected in the afternoon, then we had to change a bit our program and decided certain things to be done in the morning.

“It’s hard to say where we are, because we did not get enough running, but it was all fine. It’s only Friday and we have to wait and see.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done to do well in qualifying, for sure here is easier compared to Monaco, but it will depend on many things, the weather conditions first of all. Tomorrow we’ll see where we are and then we’ll do the best over the weekend.”

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit

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Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.