By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Max Verstappen put together perhaps his most complete race of the season after starting and finishing third in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Although the 20-year-old Dutchman was within striking distance of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in second-place, the laps ticked down and he crossed the finish line just under one second behind. The result ties his best finish on the year as he touches the podium for the second time over the span of the last three races.
Additionally, he scored the fastest lap of the race at 1 minute, 13.864 seconds on Lap 65 around the 2.709-mile circuit named after the legendary Gilles Villeneuve. After seven rounds, he sits sixth in the championship standings, 18 points out of fifth-place Kimi Raikkonen (68-50).
“The whole weekend we were very competitive and in the race, with the tires we had, I think we maximized our strategy and we were very happy with the result,” Verstappen said.
“Every single weekend you go in you try to win and here practice has been good, Qualifying has been positive and the race went well too. Of course we’re very pleased with that and to come away with a podium and challenging for second at the end at this track, which is not ideal for us, is really positive. When you feel confident with the car then you can do a good job, and during the race I think we managed the car in the best way possible on the hypersoft tires.
“In this kind of race you have to manage a lot, fuel first of all, then also the tyres, you have the pressure from behind, you don’t want to let them into your DRS but one point I can see that I was pulling away quite comfortably so then I was challenging Valtteri at the end.
“So the race was in one way maybe a little bit boring but on the other hand you needed full focus on doing a good job.”
Verstappen admitted that the pace of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who collected his 50th Grand Prix victory, was tough to deal with as his No. 33 Aston Martin Red Bull Racing machine lacked “top speed.”
“I don’t think we can challenge for victories on every track,” Verstappen added.
“It just depends on how long the straights are but for now I am looking forward to the upcoming races.”
With teammate Daniel Ricciardo finishing behind in fourth, it was a pleasing day for Team Principal Christian Horner.
“Third and fourth represents a great team result today,” Horner said.
“Max drove a very strong race finishing within a tenth of a second from Valtteri. Starting on the hypersoft he nearly managed to get ahead of him off the line but unfortunately didn’t quite make it. Thereafter his pace and management of the race was very, very strong, so we are really happy with what he has achieved today and all week in Montreal.
“Daniel was the only car in the top six who made any progress, passing Kimi on the first lap and managing to pull off the overcut on Lewis, after a great stop from the guys in the pit crew.
“To achieve P3 and P4 at this type of circuit, including the fastest lap of the race once again (one of five fastest laps of the 2018 season), is a strong performance delivering valuable points to the team.”