Max Verstappen says his surprise exit from Qualifying 2 for the Canadian Grand Prix was unlucky from his side, but admits that the Medium Pirelli tyre didn’t feel ‘fantastic’ after Red Bull Racing‘s attempted gamble to start on the tyre failed.
Red Bull followed Mercedes AMG Motorsport and Scuderia Ferrari‘s plan on doing Q2 on the Medium tyre with Verstappen, opting to start the race with the yellow-wall compound compare to red-wall Softs. But the Dutch driver couldn’t produce the pace needed in the session as the midfield runners of McLaren and Renault F1 Team were producing quicker times on the Softs than Verstappen with his Mediums.
This forced Verstappen to take the Softs for one final run in qualifying, but efforts were cut short when Haas F1 Team‘s Kevin Magnussen crashed heavily into the wall of champions ‘at the end of Q2, red flagging the session as a result. Verstappen was on a hot lap, but couldn’t complete it due to the crash and was eliminated from qualifying with eleventh place.
The gamble by Red Bull proved to be costly as they couldn’t replicate the pace both Mercedes and Ferrari were producing in Q2, who were quickest during that session. Verstappen admitted that he never got the best out of the Mediums and numerous traffic issues at the hairpin halted him from producing a clean and quick lap.
“It was just unlucky today and these things happen in Formula 1,” commented Verstappen
“We tried to get through to Q3 on the medium but the tyre didn’t feel fantastic for us and with the traffic at the hairpin it didn’t really work out.
“We then went out on the soft, I was on a decent lap to make it through to Q3 but then the red flag came out and I couldn’t finish the lap.
The early exit from Verstappen in qualifying allows him to pick any tyre he wishes to start the Grand Prix on, and with a three-place grid drop to McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and a pit lane start for Magnussen after his crash, the Dutch driver is promoted two places and will start from ninth place. Team-mate Pierre Gasly qualified in fifth behind Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen will have to cut his way through the midfield before he can fight with the leading drivers, but the twenty-one year old believes that he can recover his position and still perform well in the race.
“That’s how it goes sometimes and you can never predict someone being in the wall. It’s not where we want to start as I want to be fighting the leader, but we should be able to recover our positions and still have a good race.”