Christian Horner felt Max Verstappen put in a strong drive during the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, with the Dutchman recovering from his early elimination in Qualifying on Saturday to move up from ninth on the grid to finish fifth.
The Red Bull Racing driver was on course to advance into the top ten shootout but was unable to complete his flying lap in Q2 thanks to the heavy last corner crash for Kevin Magnussen, meaning he was eliminated early from proceedings. However, a penalty for Carlos Sainz Jr. and a pit lane start for Magnussen promoted him to ninth on the grid.
Starting on the hard Pirelli tyre, Verstappen was able to gain track position early on those ahead of him that started on the soft compound, and when he made his own pit stop, he was sufficiently far ahead to remain in fifth, even managing a minor braking issue in the closing laps.
“Another strong race and a good recovery drive for Max today progressing from ninth to fifth,” said Red Bull team principal Horner. “He lost quite a bit of time in the early laps clearing traffic but running long on the hard tyre was a strategy that worked well.
“He managed a small brake issue in the last few laps but finished the race comfortably in P5.”
Whereas Verstappen was able to gain places, team-mate Pierre Gasly fell from fifth on the grid to finish eighth. Gasly trailed Renault F1 Team’s Daniel Ricciardo in the early stages of the race before the Frenchman attempted to gain the position by pitting a lap earlier than the Australian.
However, he was unable to do so, and then lost more time behind the yet-to-stop Lance Stroll that allowed the second Renault of Nico Hülkenberg to jump him when he made his own pit stop a few laps later.
Horner felt the time lost behind Stroll cost Gasly the chance of a better result and meant Red Bull left Canada with less than ideal results.
“With Pierre we tried to get the undercut on Daniel during the pit stop, we nearly made it, but he unfortunately got stuck behind Stroll which pretty much ended his race, allowing Hülkenberg to sneak ahead,” revealed Horner.
“Fifth and eighth were not the results we were looking for but heads down and the focus is on Paul Ricard.”