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Max well-earned P4 in Canada: “A shame we didn’t finish on the podium”

Published on 12 June 2016 by Mike Motilall

The Canadian Grand Prix earned Max Verstappen a well-deserved fourth place. The Dutchman appeared to be heading for a podium finish, but Valtteri Bottas got the better of him in the closing stages of the race. He came in third for Williams. The youngster did manage to fend off leader in the standings, Nico Rosberg, in a thrilling fight for the fourth position. Lewis Hamilton was once again victorious as he was able to keep Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari at bay.

“It was a good race, it’s a shame that we didn’t finish on the podium”, Max tells immediately after the race. “It looked good in the beginning, but we quickly realized that we were having too much degradation on the tyres. As a result we needed to come back in again, when we really wanted to go to end of the race with them. We only had the ultra-soft tyres, so we didn’t have much choice. We then tried to make the best of it.” In the fight with Rosberg, Verstappen was very resolute: “I didn’t want to give up my position, I fought hard for it. Rosberg was a bit faster, but eventually I was able to keep him behind of me. The last lap was very spectacular, probably one of my most difficult one ever. It felt good. My tyres were pretty worn out, but luckily I was able to keep defending. I used to practice this a lot in go-karts with my dad and friends when I was very young. Today I was able to put it to good use in a Formula 1-race!”

At one point you got a call to let Daniel pass, what was that about? “I was saving my tyres at that moment because I knew I was not able to keep up the tempo of the two cars in front of me. When they told me not to hold up Ricciardo, I started pulling away.” The Dutchman is already focussing on the coming race in Baku: "The circuit is new for everybody, so that can be quite positive for us. The track has many slow corners and our car is normally quite good with that."

At the start of the race, Max gets a clean get away and in the first corner, he is able to overtake Daniel Ricciardo from the outside. As Rosberg gets off track and drops way back, Max is quickly running in third. The Dutchman pulls a gap of 1,3 seconds to his Australian team mate within two laps. But he is unable to follow the tempo of the two cars in front of him. The Ferrari and Mercedes are soon out of sight. When Ricciardo gets closer to Max, within ten laps, the latter is told on the radio to not hold up his team mate.

Jenson Button is the first to drop out of the race: his Honda-engine blows up on the straight to start-finish on lap eleven, triggering a virtual safety car situation. Both Ferrari’s immediately take advantage of the situation by heading in to the pits to switch to the super soft tyres. This puts Verstappen in second. The youngster counters the pressure put on by Ricciardo, by increasing his tempo and slowly pull a gap to his team mate who is running in third by then.

Vettel overtakes Ricciardo just before the hairpin, snatching third from him as he also sets his sight on Verstappen’s second place. The ultra softs of the Red Bulls have clearly seen better days and the German wastes no time in overtaking the Dutchman. All taking place a lap later where Button blew up his engine.

On lap 21, Max does his first pitstop and switches to the soft compound tyres, putting him in eighth, just in front of Kimi Raikkonen. One lap later, Ricciardo follows the same formula but he ends up behind of Raikkonen. Max is now fifth. After both Williams’ made their stop, Verstappen is on a podium finish in third. He is by far the fastest driver of everyone behind of him, except Nico Rosberg, who is slowly charging his way through the mid field. The Dutchman is also able to come along quite well with the tempo of the front runners

Behind of him, a fight is slowly evolving between Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Bottas, who has joined the party by now. The Fin has been holding up everyone till he pits on lap 34. Ricciardo immediately shows that he is actually faster than the Ferrari as he starts clocking the same lap time as Max. Who has pulled a gap of about six seconds. In his push forward, Ricciardo pushes too hard when braking for the chicane which puts him on the wrong foot. He shoots off track and sees Bottas get the better of him. But when Rosberg also gets on the tail of his RB12, the smiling Ossie makes a second pit stop and finally loses his position to his Dutch team mate.

On lap 47, Max comes in for his second pit stop and switches to the ultra-soft tyres. He gets out on track ahead of Raikkonen and Ricciardo, in fifth. At that moment, he is immediately the fastest one on track. He is able to overtake Rosberg again as he is forced to pit because of a puncture in his right rear tyre. The gap to Bottas is being closed with half to even a whole second per lap.

Rosberg appears to want to make little work of Verstappen on lap 64, but the Dutchman does not intend to go down without putting up a fight. Twice he is able to keep the German at bay. During the final lap, the German makes a do or die attempt but is unable to stick the move. He brakes too late for the chicane and spins off track, this puts Verstappen firmly in fourth place.

Victory is claimed by Lewis Hamilton, who was still able to pass Vettel after he had previously overtaken him in the first lap. Behind of them, Raikkonen and Ricciardo are sixth and seventh. Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez both finish in the top ten, only to be split by Carlos Sainz. He drives a remarkable race by starting in 20th and finishing in 9th. The gap between leader in the world championship standings Rosberg and the number two, has been brought back to only nine points.

Canadian Grand Prix - Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - Sunday 12 June

01 44 Lewis Hamilton      Mercedes                    	70 1:31:05.296  25
02  5 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari                     	70 +5.011s      18
03 77 Valtteri Bottas     Williams Mercedes           	70 +46.422s     15
04 33 Max Verstappen      Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer   	70 +53.020s     12
05  6 Nico Rosberg        Mercedes                    	70 +62.093s     10
06  7 Kimi Räikkönen      Ferrari                     	70 +63.017s      8
07  3 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer   	70 +63.634s      6
08 27 Nico Hulkenberg     Force India Mercedes        	69 +1 lap        4
09 55 Carlos Sainz        Toro Rosso Ferrari          	69 +1 lap        2
10 11 Sergio Perez        Force India Mercedes        	69 +1 lap        1
11 14 Fernando Alonso     McLaren Honda               	69 +1 lap        0
12 26 Daniil Kvyat        Toro Rosso Ferrari          	69 +1 lap        0
13 21 Esteban Gutierrez   Haas Ferrari                	68 +2 laps       0
14  8 Romain Grosjean     Haas Ferrari                	68 +2 laps       0
15  9 Marcus Ericsson     Sauber Ferrari              	68 +2 laps       0
16 20 Kevin Magnussen     Renault                     	68 +2 laps       0
17 94 Pascal Wehrlein     MRT Mercedes                	68 +2 laps       0
18 12 Felipe Nasr         Sauber Ferrari              	68 +2 laps       0
19 88 Rio Haryanto        MRT Mercedes                	68 +2 laps       0
NC 19 Felipe Massa        Williams Mercedes           	35 DNF           0
NC 30 Jolyon Palmer       Renault                     	16 DNF           0
NC 22 Jenson Button       McLaren Honda               	 9 DNF           0