Pole-sitter Verstappen expecting tough battle with Ferrari in Canadian GP after taking pole, as Perez admits ‘I messed up’
Reigning world champion Max Verstappen is expecting a “good battle” with rivals Ferrari in the fight for victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, after he secured an impressive pole in a wet qualifying.
Remarkably, it was only the Red Bull driver’s second pole position of the season – the other came in Imola – and puts him in great shape to extend his championship lead, with his main title rivals Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc set to start 13th and 19th respectively.
While team mate Perez made a mistake in tricky conditions and skated off into the barriers, Verstappen didn’t put a foot wrong as he danced his Red Bull around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“It felt good, especially with these tricky conditions in qualifying,” he said. “You had to be calm and make sure you were progressing through qualifying, and that’s what we did. The car was also working really well when the track was becoming drier.”
Looking ahead tomorrow, when conditions will be dry and much warmer, Verstappen – who took Red Bull’s first pole in Montreal since 2013 – said he expected a threat from Ferrari, who have Carlos Sainz in third, behind Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.
“It’s very close between us and Ferrari in the long runs, so I expect it to be a good battle. Looking forward to it.”
Perez arrived in Montreal on the back of three successive top-two finishes, but he faces an uphill battle to continue that streak after he made a mistake, locking up the intermediate tyres and crashing out of qualifying.
“It was a mistake from my side – I messed up,” he said. “I should have just waited and taken things a bit more cautiously at the time.
“I was trying to put temperature into the tyres. Unfortunately, I went over the limit and then I became a passenger.”
He added: “I will try my best tomorrow, try to minimise the damage, which would be great if we are able to do that.”