Max Verstappen insists he would have conceded to Valtteri Bottas at the start of the Canadian Grand Prix regardless of recent focus on his driving.
A crash during FP3 in Monaco ended Verstappen’s hopes of winning the last race and led Christian Horner and Helmut Marko to suggest the Dutchman should change his approach. In Canada, Verstappen made a good start to get down the inside of Bottas at Turn 1 but then was run out of road by the Finn through Turn 2 and had to drop behind the Mercedes.
Asked by Sky Sports if the start was his only chance of getting ahead of Bottas, Verstappen replied: “Looking back yes.
“But you try. The start was okay, maybe could have been a bit better, but I didn’t want to squeeze Valtteri off the track at the start. The start is okay but I don’t want to go too deep because I don’t know what Sebastian is going to do. We had a little kiss over there. And you have to settle for third, that is how it is.”
When it was put to Verstappen that it must have been in the back of his mind that he needed a clean race, he replied: “Yes, but let’s say even if I wouldn’t have had the races I had this year, I still would have done the same thing.”
Third place came at the end of a strong weekend for Verstappen, who was fastest in all three practice sessions and then secured a top-three starting position. After such a performance, the 20-year-old says there was no added motivation for him behind the wheel despite being angered by what he felt is an unfair focus on his errors this year.
“Honestly I don’t think [any anger helped]. I always want a good weekend, and of course I am always motivated to have a good weekend. So I also think if I would do something different because of that, then normally I’m not doing a good job because I am not on it, or 100 percent on it.”
And Verstappen says he was pleased to pay his mechanics back with a podium after the disappointment of Monaco, where Daniel Ricciardo won.
“I went to dinner with them last night, we had a good laugh. It is also important to always have a good relationship with your team and especially with your side of the garage, always working on your car, and especially have been repairing a few bits this year. This was just a very nice weekend.”