‘Unlucky’ Verstappen set for ‘tricky’ Canadian Grand Prix after Q2 exit
A huge shunt for Haas’s Kevin Magnussen at the tail end of Q2 saw Max Verstappen fail to make it out of the segment for the first time this year – and it’s left the Red Bull driver with it all to do in the Canadian Grand Prix to get back on terms with his fellow front-runners.
Verstappen had attempted to make it through Q2 on the yellow-walled medium tyres – as both Ferraris and Mercedes drivers managed to do – but traffic on his first attempt forced him to bolt on a set of softs and try again. He was then on a lap that would almost certainly have seen him go through when Magnussen lost the back end of his Haas coming out of the final corner, hitting the Wall of Champions before slewing over the track and causing the session to finish under a red flag, which in turn prevented Verstappen from finishing his lap.
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“It’s just unlucky – what can you do about it?” was Verstappen’s matter-of-fact response when asked about the incident. “We tried on the medium, bit of traffic, didn’t really work out for us, so we said, ‘Okay, let’s go on the soft again’. I was on a decent lap to make it into Q3, but then of course we had the red flag. But that’s how it goes sometimes.”
We’ll find out tomorrow how it’s going to go but we are not really on pace with Ferrari or Mercedes, so it will be anyway tricky to fight them
Verstappen’s Q2 exit was his first since Austin last year. But while that event saw him climb his way back up into a podium position by the race end, the Dutchman was less confident of a repeat at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Sunday, despite the possibility of moving up the grid if Magnussen – whose crash ironically assured the Dane of his own place in Q3 – is forced to take a replacement gearbox and the subsequent grid penalty that would go with it.
“Tricky one,” Verstappen replied, when asked if a second consecutive Canadian Grand Prix podium might be possible. “Of course you start a bit back, so first you have to clear the midfield traffic.
“We’ll find out tomorrow how it’s going to go… [but] we are not really on pace with Ferrari or Mercedes, so it will be anyway tricky to fight them tomorrow.”
As Red Bull’s sole representative in Q3, Verstappen’s team mate Pierre Gasly was unable to achieve the maximum the team were aiming for pre-qualifying of row two on the grid, with the Frenchman set to start the race fifth, behind the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo – the last man to win for Red Bull in Canada, back in 2014.