Max Verstappen was pleased to have a smooth weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with the Dutchman claiming his sixth victory in nine races to extend his advantage at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings to forty-six points.
The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver was in control of the race for pretty much the whole afternoon in Canada, although he was forced to defend from Carlos Sainz Jr. in the closing stages after the Spaniard pitted for fresh tyres under the safety car for Yuki Tsunoda’s crash.
Verstappen admits he prefers to attack rather than defend, and he was forced to go flat out across the final laps to prevent the Scuderia Ferrari driver from getting close enough to attack for the lead.
“The weekend went pretty smoothly for me, and we can be happy with that,” said Verstappen. “Overall the Ferraris were very quick and strong in the race. It was really exciting at the end; the last two laps were a lot of fun, I was flat out racing and I was giving it everything I had.
“The safety car towards the end of the race of course didn’t help, Carlos had fresher tyres so that made it difficult, I would have preferred to attack than defend, but luckily it worked out. Also, this year we seem to be quick on the straights so that helps a lot.”
Verstappen hopes the team can remain focused and find improvements with their RB18 in the upcoming races, starting with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone at the beginning of July.
“The next race is Silverstone, I’m looking forward to going back to the more traditional tracks,” he said. “We have to keep focused as a Team and find improvements wherever we can.”
“Today hurts a lot, it has been a weekend to forget for me” – Sergio Pérez
Whereas Verstappen was celebrating, team-mate Sergio Pérez’s weekend ended in disappointment, with the Mexican retiring early on with a technical issue linked with his gearbox.
After crashing in Saturday’s wet Qualifying session in Q2, Pérez knew he had a lot of work to do to climb back into the points, but his early progress was ended when he pulled off at the chicane at the back of the circuit, causing a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) as a result.
It is the second retirement of the season for Pérez, and the fourth overall for Red Bull, and he knows the team will need to solve the reliability issues if they are to sustain a championship challenge this year.
“We think it was a gearbox issue and I got stuck in gear unfortunately,” said Pérez. “Things were looking good, I had a good start, I was on the hard tyre and making progress.
“I had finally got Daniel [Ricciardo], in the McLaren out of the DRS zone and it should have been a race where I could have worked my way through the field, so it’s a big shame. I felt I had plenty of potential in my race to make up a lot of places and recover good points.
“We need to keep on top of the reliability because a zero, when you are fighting for the Championship, is very painful and costly. You go into new regulations and there is always going to be new problems to face.
“Today hurts a lot, it has been a weekend to forget for me, so I want to forget about today and move onto Silverstone.”