Max Verstappen likes round numbers at the moment and after his 25th Formula 1 victory in Baku last Sunday, he took his 15th pole position (his second only in 2022) yesterday at the Montreal circuit, for the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver looks back on this very tricky session on a very wet track in Q1 to start.
“Well, it was just very tricky on track. You know, especially in Q1, the visibility, and of course the drivers trying to find a bit of a gap, you have to slow down, your tires get cold and you’re really on the limit with grip. So for me Q1 wasn’t the easiest. But then it started to get more and more enjoyable when the track started to dry out. You start to get a bit more grip in the wet. And yes, so in Q3, of course, it’s about trying to bank a good lap, but also trying to follow the evolution of the track and be on the track at the right time. Fortunately, everything went well.”
Verstappen had never ridden in the wet on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Did he have to experiment to find the right lines and grip?
“Yes, a bit. The first time you always try different things, where you think the grip is, and especially to get the tires to work. That was the most important thing, even before the lines. But like I said, as soon as it started to dry out the tires finally started working a little easier and it was fun to ride.”
George Russell tried running on slick tires at the end of Q3. Has he thought of it?
“No. It was just too wet in some places, like turn 1, turn 2. Same from 4 to 5, to 6. The other places on the track were quite dry. was never a thought. Of course, it was only two and a half seconds between his lap and mine, but you can’t take that bet in qualifying when you have pole to go for.”
At his side on the starting grid, he will have a new driver to watch, Fernando Alonso. How does it feel to start in the front row alongside the Spaniard for the first time?
“Yeah, it’s been a long time, 10 years I think, since he was on a front row. To be in the front row with Fernando… I watched F1 as a kid, and Fernando was there a lot, on pole, he was winning and he’s had two championships. So sharing the lead is a good thing. Of course, Fernando is getting a bit older, but he’s still very quick. And I know he’s got some really good starts, so he’s going to take his chance so I have to be ready.”
What does he expect from the race, which will normally take place on a dry track?
“The pace on the long stints was okay. It was pretty close I think with Ferrari. So it’s going to be an interesting race.”
“We have a good balance, it can also depend a bit on how the track evolves, it always moves a bit more on the street circuits in general. But in the race it always went well. Because you are looking for a bit of a different balance. So yeah, I’m looking forward to it. So far the whole weekend has gone well. We have to finish it well.”