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'We won', says Ferrari boss as Mercedes celebrate

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Montreal (AFP)

Ferrari team chief Mattia Binotto declared Sebastian Vettel and his team as the winners of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix irrespective of the classified result that saw a stewards' penalty hand victory to Lewis Hamilton.

"It's not for us to decide and that's the sport," he said. "Everyone seems to believe that Sebastian won.

"He didn't have any bad intentions. He stayed ahead the entire race, he took the chequered flag for us. He is the winner and we, as a team, we have pulled back our competitiveness. And we know our weaknesses. This season is not over."

In the wake of the controversial outcome of a close and thrilling contest at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Binotto remained calm.

"We need to look at all the data to make our own decisions. He was at the limit in each corner and we were on the border line of the tyres. There was nothing he could do when he went in the grass."

He added: "Everyone will calm down in a few hours. Our job is to improve the car. Today, we won. We were the fastest on the track and that is important.

"It is good to see Seb has the passion and he is hungry. We are all hungry."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff sympathised with Vettel but conceded he was more than happy to celebrate the team's seventh win in as many attempts this season.

Vettel initially refused to attend the post-race interviews and stormed off, but returned for podium ceremonies after persuasion by his Italian team.

As he did so, however, he moved the numbers used to mark the finishing order ? shifting the number one to the blank space for his car, leaving two for Hamilton's Mercedes and three for Charles Leclerc.

"First of all, Sebastian is absolutely right ? if it was me I would have kicked the damn board and thrown it against the car," said Wolff.

"Emotions are logic and are good for the sport. And in all the typical decisions there is a controversial one.

"I am of course biased for Mercedes and there is a rule that says you have to leave a car's width when you go off the track, and I think his instinctive reaction was that he had to protect that position, and maybe that was a tiny bit too far."

"If you're a Ferrari fan, or somebody that is keen on seeing hard racing, you'd like to see a little bit more of a bumper car mentality," he added.

Hamilton's victory moved him 29 points clear of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas a third of the way into the season.

"I think a win is a win and you need to take the points. You would rather do it clean, on track, but you have also to take these days," said Wolff.

"The stewards just have to put in place what is there in black and white. We need to rely on the regulations. Wherever you stand, it is always a 60-40 decision for or against."

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