Red Bull’s team boss Christian Horner hailed his driver’s performance after victory in Canada; Verstappen held off a strong contest from Carlos Sainz in Montreal; next up for F1 is the British Grand Prix with all sessions live on Sky Sports F1 on July 1-3
Last Updated: 19/06/22 11:52pm
Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen is in the ‘form of his life’ after his Red Bull driver held off Carlos Sainz around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to win the Canadian Grand Prix.
After a late safety car, Verstappen was put under significant pressure by Sainz in the closing stages of the race and really felt the pace of the Ferrari behind him.
Verstappen’s triumph at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was his sixth P1 finish of the season and Horner hailed his driver’s work on race day.
“Max is in the form of his life and the team are doing a great job,” Red Bull’s team principal said.
“All credit to Carlos today, he pushed Max really, really hard. But Max was absolutely clinical; it was a really impressive drive
“We actually lost communication with the car! It was one-way traffic, he could hear us but we couldn’t hear him… I guess he didn’t need to hear us too much.”
Verstappen holds a 46-point lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings – the largest cushion any driver has enjoyed so far this season.
Despite that, Red Bull’s boss is not looking too far ahead and remains solely focused on the next race in Silverstone on July 1-3.
“Silverstone is one of the best circuits on the calendar, it’s going to be a record crowd again this year and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone there,” Horner said.
“I’m sure there will be huge support for the Mercedes drivers but we’re going there fired up and trying to put right what happened last year.”
Verstappen: Pleased after ‘tough’ race
On team radio after Verstappen’s victory, his race engineer described his work as a ‘world champion’s drive’. The 24-year-old felt he had been forced to work hard to secure maximum points.
“In general, quite a tough race for us. I was hoping for a little bit more pace from the car, it seemed like Ferrari in the race were strong,” Verstappen said.
“Of course, I could only really compare to Carlos. It was tough to really match him in terms of lap times.
“You just have to get on with it. The last 15 laps were flat out and I also knew, while being flat out, that I could not afford to make a mistake because he was always so close to me. It worked out at the end.”
Following the race, Sainz was quick to point out he felt he was the ‘fastest man on track’ and Verstappen knows Red Bull must continue to develop their car as this season continues.
“A few lessons to look at as to why that is [Ferrari’s extra pace],” Verstappen said.
“One race it looks like we have the upper hand and another race they look strong again, so we are very closely matched.”
“It’s important to always have a good points lead,” he added about the standings. “But, you also know that it can swing around very quickly.”
Painful day for Perez
Verstappen’s elation was countered by Sergio Perez’s race ending via retirement, after another mechanical issue.
The Mexican driver arrived in Canada in form, following confident race weekends in Monaco and Baku. However, he had said he ‘let the team down’ after crashing during a wet qualifying session on Saturday.
In the end, that was just the start of a painful weekend for Perez. After starting from 13th on the grid, his race lasted just eight laps due to a gearbox issue.
“It’s a very disappointing day to go away with zero points. The weekend hadn’t been perfect, but I still believed that we were on track for a great result,” Perez said. “Having these zeros are going to be extremely painful.”
At the start of the race weekend, Perez was just 21 points behind his team-mate in the standings and the hot topic was whether the team-mates would be allowed to race on track.
His DNF means the gap has now expanded significantly, however, Perez’s team principal does not think he’s out of the running yet.
“We’ve seen the swing in the championship moving around so much,” Horner said.
“He’s now got the same number of mechanical failures that Max has had, and we need to understand and address that.
“It’s too soon to write anyone off, we’re not even near the halfway point yet so there’s still a lot of racing to go.”