Verstappen: Red Bull 'had to be on top of our calls' to win

Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing 09.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images
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Max Verstappen might have taken victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, but the changeable conditions and much closer competition from their rivals meant this was no walk in the park for Red Bull.

Verstappen had bounced back from a problematic Friday to finish qualifying in a dead heat with George Russell, but the changeable conditions meant that it was a guessing game in terms of who would have the upper hand on Sunday.

Russell initially led from pole but then struggled to stay ahead of Verstappen as his intermediate tyres lost grip. But before Verstappen could take advantage, he found himself ambushed by McLaren's Lando Norris blasting past.

The timing of a safety car allowed Verstappen to finally take the lead for the restart, and while Norris tried to use he overcut to get ahead again he wasn't quite able to make it work, allowing Verstappen to secure victory.

Speaking to the media in parc ferme and the paddock at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Verstappen said that today's victory was very much a case of the team as a whole coming together when it mattered most.

“It was a pretty crazy race,” he admitted. "A lot of things were happening and we had to be on top of our calls.

"I think as a team we just did really well today," he continued. "We remained calm, I think we pitted at the right time.

“Of course the Safety Car worked out nicely for us, but even after that I think we were managing the gaps quite well."

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 celebrates at the end of the race. 09.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

Verstappen certainly appeared to enjoy Sunday's eventful wet race more than many of his more straightforward wins in recent outings.

I love it, that was a lot of fun. Those kinds of races, you need them once in a while," he beamed, adding that the challenges had ebbed and flowed. "In different stages of the race as well. It was a lot of fun out there.”

It wasn't just the rain coming and going that had made life difficult for the current world champion. He acknowledged that hit main rivals had really stepped up and close the gap to Red in recent races.

But Verstappen denied there had been any concerns with the car this weekend, despite being heard to complain about the suspension on the RB20 at one point.

"Not particularly an issue, we know what it is, we just need to work on it,” he commented. “Nevertheless we won, that’s the most important [thing]. We still have a lot of room to improve.”

With Charles Leclerc failing to finish Sunday's race, Verstappen's lead over the Monegasque has been boosted by 25 points to more than reverse the poor outcome of the previous race.

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