Max Verstappen insists he is not frustrated by his Q2 elimination in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, seeing it as simply unlucky.
Red Bull had opted to run Verstappen on the medium tire on his first Q2 attempt in order to try and start the race on that compound. However, a slow lap meant he was sitting 11th after the first runs and went back out on softs to try and advance. While he was comfortably quick enough to get through, Verstappen had to abort his final lap due to a red flag caused by Kevin Magnussen’s crash, but he says the team had made the right decisions in the session.
“I’m not down, it happens in Formula 1,” Verstappen said. “I don’t know, we aren’t really on pace with Ferrari and Mercedes so will be tricky to fight them tomorrow.
“Well, afterwards it’s easy to say (it was too big a risk) but at the time it seemed quite logical. But I just didn’t have the grip I wanted, but then also I had traffic in the hairpin, otherwise we would’ve made it. But, yeah, had to go on the softs, and it’s just very unfortunate to get the red flag. I think it’s just very unlucky.”
Verstappen believes he would have been able to qualify in the top three given the way the rest of qualifying panned out, and while he expects to climb through the field with relative ease he says Red Bull is lacking pace compared to the top two teams.
“Well, looking at Q3, P3 (was possible), because of all the mistakes from the cars around. But realistically speaking, I think we are behind Ferrari and Mercedes.
“We’ll definitely get back up to P5 for sure. Also in a way it’s good that Bottas is like P6, and we’re starting probably P10 or P9. It’s not that bad but of course I want to compare against the guy in the lead — that for sure is going to be a lot harder.
“The thing is it would be great if you had the medium starting P5 or P4. Starting P10, with the medium — it’s good because the cars ahead of you, most of them are on the soft, but you lose a lot of terrain to the top three. So… it’s not ideal. I would rather start P5 with the soft than P10 with the medium.”
Verstappen has already gained two positions as a result of Kevin Magnussen’s pit lane start and a grid penalty for Carlos Sainz, meaning he will start from ninth place as it stands.