Damage limitation for Verstappen after qualifying drama in Canada
Max Verstappen admitted fifth was as good as he could have expected after missing out on the top 10 shootout in qualifying on Saturday at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Dutchman was knocked out in Q2 when his final lap was abandoned when Kevin Magnussen crashed his Haas into the 'Wall of Champions' at the death, bringing out the red flag. It meant the Red Bull man would have to start 11th, which was later promoted to ninth with grid penalties to both Magnussen and McLaren's Carlos Sainz.
Team-mate Pierre Gasly had a better time in qualifying and was able to show the RB15's pace by starting fifth - his best performance in F1.
Making his way through the field, Verstappen would jump the McLaren of Lando Norris and then the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and former Red Bull man Daniel Ricciardo at the pits. Gasly meanwhile dropped down the order as a result of a brake issue.
“It was a controlled drive today," said Verstappen afterwards. "We stayed out of trouble at the beginning of the race and there was not much more I could do in the closing stages. I did a very long first stint which worked quite well to clear the traffic and once we pitted I quickly cleared the Renaults. From there I pulled away and was able to focus on my own race but we were not quick enough to catch the leaders.
"It was at least fun doing a bit of overtaking and we scored good points again but I think realistically fifth was where we expected to finish.
"It was not our weekend and I would of course like more but we have to work hard now to try and close the gap at the next race.”
Gasly added: It was a pretty difficult day but the car actually felt quite good so it is disappointing to finish where we did. We expected to be stronger than this. We struggled with traffic and had to save the brakes, which compromised us a bit, and I of course wanted to finish better than this.
"We need to analyse everything and see what we can improve but I also need to work hard before the next race. I hope we can find more pace and come back stronger for my home race.”