Verstappen ‘in the form of his life’ says Horner after Montreal ‘masterclass’
Max Verstappen’s victory at the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix was nothing short of a “masterclass” according to Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner – although the retirement of Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez couldn’t help but take the shine off his team’s weekend.
Having started the Montreal race from pole position, Verstappen appeared to have the upper hand throughout the Grand Prix, despite falling behind Carlos Sainz midway through when Red Bull opted to pit the reigning champion again.
But Sainz pitting under a subsequent Safety Car – brought out when Yuki Tsunoda crashed into the Turn 2 barriers after exiting the pits – gave Verstappen track position, with the Dutchman then brilliantly holding off the assault of Sainz for the final 16 laps to claim his fifth win in six races – and sixth in nine Grands Prix do far this year.
“Max, you know he’s just been dominant all weekend and the amount of pressure he had to soak up in that last 15 laps after the [Safety Car] was really impressive,” said Horner. “He was super-cool, and we had a radio issue as well; I think he could hear us but we couldn’t hear him. But the way he managed the race, the way that he controlled the pace, the tyres, was a masterclass.”
Asked if Verstappen – now 46 points ahead of Perez in the drivers’ championship – and Red Bull – 76 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors’ – were beginning to feel comfortable at the head of the standings, Horner retorted: “Look, we’ve got to take each race at a time; we’ve put a great run together, it’s great to be heading to Silverstone leading both championships, Max is in the form of his life, the team are doing a great job.”
Adding to Horner’s note of caution was the disappointing Saturday and Sunday of Monaco winner Perez, who crashed out of qualifying, only to retire eight laps into the race with a gearbox issue. But Horner said that, while the DNF was concerning, he still felt Perez was in the hunt for the title.
“It’s desperately disappointing we didn’t have Checo there as well today,” said Horner. “We’ve seen the championship swing around so much. He’s now got the same amount of mechanical failures as Max has had and we need to understand that and address that. But it’s too soon to write anyone off – we’re not even at the halfway point yet so there’s still a lot of racing to go.”
Constructors' standings post-Canada
|1 Red Bull Racing||304|