Monday, June 24, 2024

Max Verstappen: “To tie with Ayrton Senna is incredible and I feel really proud of that”

Max Verstappen continued his remarkable run by taking victory in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, with the Dutchman now having led every lap of the past three races.

The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver held on to the lead at the start at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and controlled the race thereafter, with his advantage at the top of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship standings now sixty-nine points.

Verstappen took his forty-first victory on Sunday, matching the total set by the legendary Ayrton Senna, with the win also Red Bulls one hundredth since they joined Formula 1.

However, it was not a completely straightforward day for the two-time World Champion, with struggles to get his tyres to the right temperature window.

“I’m of course very happy to win here in Canada,” said Verstappen.  “It wasn’t an easy or straightforward race though, it was quite difficult to switch on the tyres and get them to the right temperature.

“This is our 100th win and it’s an incredible moment for the Team, the hard work doesn’t stop here though, the new target is 200 now!

“Right from when I was a young kid karting, I was always dreaming about being a Formula One driver and I would have never imagined to actually win so many races, so to tie with Ayrton Senna is incredible and I feel really proud of that.

“Hopefully we will have plenty more wins in the future, I don’t want to stop now.”

“I am more concerned about my drop in performance than my place in the Championship” – Sergio Pérez

Team-mate Sergio Pérez did not have the same kind of pace as Verstappen, although the Mexican was able to climb from twelfth on the grid to finish sixth.

After finding himself eliminated in Q2 amid the mixed conditions in Qualifying on Saturday, Pérez always had his work cut out to reach the podium places, and he put the intervention of the safety car as one of the reasons why he struggled.

Pérez admits he is worried that the pace he showed in the opening handful of races appears to have disappeared at this stage of the year, and he has dropped away from Verstappen in the championship standings as is only nine points ahead of Fernando Alonso.

“Today was a bit of a surprise, we just didn’t have the pace,” said Pérez.  “It was looking good on the hard tyre initially but once the safety car came in I couldn’t recover the grip on that tyre and we didn’t have the pace on the medium.

“It is important we take time to understand the weekend because this race, in particular, has been poor in pace and we need to get on top of it. I have the confidence in myself and know what I can do but today we were not good.

“Right now, I am more concerned about my drop in performance than my place in the Championship because the pace is just not there. You never have no pressure on you, it has been a difficult period but I am here to perform and I need to do that in the next few races.

“On a positive note, we achieved 100 wins today and it is really great for the Team, I am very happy for everyone, Max has done a tremendous job, not just today but throughout the whole season.”

Sergio Pérez struggled to sixth in Canada – Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images