Max Verstappen reveals whether Red Bull was masking its performance during the 2023 F1 Canadian GP

F1 Grand Prix of Canada
Race winner Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium during 2023 Canadian GP in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen claims tire management was a key contributor to Red Bull’s performance during the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix. The Dutchman revealed his race was a combination of managing his tires and pushing flat out over the course of 70 laps.

Explaining the factors that played into his race in Canada, Max Verstappen said:

“Fernando’s already been asking me this! It’s tough, because normally it’s all about tyre management, right? But today was definitely more about pushing. But sometimes it was just going up and down a lot in lap-time. So then sometimes you couldn't actually push to the limit, because you didn't know what you were going to get."

He continued:

"So, for me, on the Hard tyre, it was quite a bit of a struggle, and then on the Medium, I wanted to open-up that gap a little bit more. So then, of course, at one point, you’re seeing, like 10-15 laps to go and you have a good gap, you don’t want to take too many risks."

He added:

"It’s probably not flat-out pushing, but you cannot relax too much because then you lose the temperature in your tyres. So… yeah… somewhere in the middle of that. I don't know what the percentage is.”

Over the course of 70 laps of the Canadian race, Max Verstappen claimed his race was not all relaxation. The Dutchman felt his race was a mix of managing his tires, pace, and the gap between him and Fernando Alonso.

He believes the hard tire was a struggle in the cold weather and was difficult to manage during the race. The 25-year-old champion finished the race 9.570 seconds ahead of the Spanish champion.

Compared to the previous races this year, the Red Bull champion’s lead over his rivals was the smallest, which he believes is because he had to push more.

Max Verstappen claims he was checking his rivals' pace during the Canadian GP

F1 Grand Prix of Canada
F1 Grand Prix of Canada

With both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton quick enough to push through the race, Max Verstappen claims he had to keep a check on their pace.

The Dutchman was not worried or threatened by their car's performance or pace, but kept checking to be able to pull out a decent gap. He felt they were competitive at the beginning of the race, but towards the end it was more about managing his own pace and not making mistakes.

Asked if he was too worried about Hamilton's or Alonso’s pace, Max Verstappen said:

“Not worried but you are alert because you keep checking: is he catching or not? What do I need to do, because at the beginning of the race when he pass Lewis, OK, let’s see what his pace is and then initially it was quick and then I could manage my pace around it."

The Dutchman continued:

"And then on the hard tyres, I think the beginning was good, like I was creating a bit of a gap but then I started to struggle with my tyres a little bit so it’s constantly just talking to your engineers, seeing of course on the pit board what’s happening."

He concluded:

"You can’t relax too much, and especially today with the tyres being so cold, you have to be on it all the time, especially also here a street circuit. A tiny mistake is big lap time lost or you’re in the wall.”

Along with the two multiple champions, Max Verstappen accompanied the legendary duo to complete an iconic podium with 11 titles. Joining the trio was Adrian Newey, who has claimed 12 titles so far. The double champion has now increased his championship lead over Sergio Perez to 69 points.

The Red Bull champion has now won seven out of the eight races so far and claimed his third consecutive grand slam of the season. The 25-year-old double champion now equals Ayrton Senna’s total of 41 victories after the Canadian GP win.

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