Max Verstappen achieved what he set out to do ahead of qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix as he qualified fifth on the grid on Saturday around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The Red Bull Racing ace knew coming into the weekend that the pace of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari team would be difficult to match, and for the Dutchman, ending 0.944 seconds off the pole time confirmed his predictions.
Verstappen is hopeful that the team can be closer to the outright pace under race conditions on Sunday, although he still believes fifth will likely be the best outcome should the four ahead of him stay out of trouble.
“We know that this circuit is not our favourite and doesn’t particularly suit us so P5 was the best we could aim for, we achieved that so I’m pleased with the result,” said Verstappen. “Ferrari and Mercedes are able to turn their engines up and find that extra pace; we can’t do that at the moment.
“During the race the engine power difference is slightly less as they cannot run at that level for an entire race, this means we can try to get involved and make ground. I think our race pace looks ok for tomorrow, if we can keep fifth that is the first goal, then we can see what happens in front of us.”
Verstappen feels the RB13 has been vastly improved during the season so far, and this weekend has seen the introduction of more upgrades, which he feels have worked well around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“We are constantly working hard to improve the car, working towards having the best car in the field, so this means constant development,” said Verstappen. “The upgrades we have got this weekend have worked really well which proves we are going in the right direction.
“It is hard to show that progress in Qualifying, and at a tough track with long straights, but we are definitely improving.”