After a tense battle on the last 15 laps of the Canadian GP, Max Verstappen was able to keep Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz behind and win the race, extending his championship lead to 46 points over nearest rival and team-mate Sergio Perez – who had to retire early on with a gearbox problem - and to 49 points to Charles Leclerc, who started from the back of the grid.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the race, Team Principal of Red Bull, Christian Horner, has explained how the race panned out from Red Bull’s perspective, citing how the different strategies at play due to the various Virtual and physical Safety Car stoppages meant that the race would boil down to a great duel between former team-mates Sainz and Verstappen for the win in Montreal:
“The strategy wasn’t clear, because we went for that early stop on the first VSC, we felt that it was the best route to the end of the race. Then, obviously, the next (safety car, for Yuki Tsunoda’s crash) came and Carlos got a free stop effectively as well, and it obviously set it up beautifully for the end of the race, and then it was super tight.”
Horner said Ferrari’s straight line speed and good quality of ride over the bumpy kerbs of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, plus a radio communication problem kept the pressure firmly on race leader Verstappen for final laps of the race:
“It wasn’t very comfortable at all in the last 10 laps after that (safety car). Max (Verstappen) just couldn’t break the DRS (range to Carlos Sainz), and the Ferrari was very quick on the straight line today. They could attack the kerbs and stays close.
“We lost communication with the car, or at least one way traffic – he could hear us, we couldn’t hear him – but I guess he didn’t need to hear us too much.
“It’s all too easy to lock a front wheel down into the last hairpin there, or in that first sector. I was sort of thinking ‘Max, just don’t lock a brake’. He was absolutely clinical today, really, really impressive drive.
“All credit to Carlos today, he pushed (Max) really, really hard,” he said.
When asked about the championship picture after nine races, Horner acknowledged it is “great” to have such dominant leads in both championships as F1 heads to the British GP, praising Verstappen and saying the world champion is “in the form of his life”:
“We’re just gonna take each race at a time. We’ve put a great run together, it’s great to be heading to Silverstone leading both championships, and Max is in the form of his life, the team is doing a great job.”
Horner lamented the gearbox issue that meant Sergio Perez didn’t get a chance to make a recovery drive to the top few positions in the Canadian GP. The Mexican now trails Verstappen by 46 points in the drivers’ championship, with two mechanical failures in the season, the same number as the Dutchman. Horner insists that it is “too soon to write anybody off” at this stage, as there is “a lot of racing to go” still in 2022:
“It was desperately disappointing we didn’t have Checo there today,” he said. “I think it was a gearbox issue.
“We’ve seen the swing in the championship move around so much. He’s now unfortunately got the same amount of mechanical failures that Max has had – and we need to understand that and address that – but it’s too soon to write anybody off. We’re not even near the halfway point, still a lot of racing to go,” he concluded.