Verstappen: Great to be sharing front row with Alonso

Verstappen: Great to be sharing front row with Alonso

Max Verstappen took a commanding pole position in qualifying in Montreal, and will be sharing the front row Fernando Alonso who sprung a surprise second place, which feels great according to the Dutchman.

The only person who could have given the 2021 Formula 1 Champion some trouble would have been Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, but with the Monegasque starting from the back of the grid for receiving a new Ferrari power unit, he only ran briefly in Q1, which left the coast clear for Verstappen to dominate.

As a result the Red Bull ace took pole by more than six tenths from Alonso, and said in his team’s media brief on Saturday: “Today was simply lovely.

“The conditions were very tricky out there, it was very slippery, but we stayed calm, we made sure we were there at the right time and we managed to put in some solid laps.

“It’s been a nice day and overall we’re having a good weekend, it’s a shame for Checo but hopefully he can make up the places tomorrow during the race,” he added.

“Tomorrow, we need to focus on the first lap and then concentrate on our own race, I still expect there to be a good battle.

“It’s been a while since Fernando and I have been alongside each other on the grid, I used to look up to him as a young kid watching Formula 1, with him being up there winning races and championships, so it’s great to be sharing the front row with him,” the 15-time pole sitter concluded.

A painful qualifying for Sergio Perez

What a difference a week makes, as after outqualifying Verstappen in Baku, Sergio Perez went out of qualifying in quite an ignominious manner after crashing in Q2, his RB18’s front nose stuck in the barriers after losing his car between Turns 3 and 4, unable to reverse back on track.

“I think we had the pace to be a lot further up the grid so today is a painful one,” Perez lamented. “It was a mistake from my side, I messed up and I am very sorry for my Team because I let them down today.

“I was struggling with the brakes a little, they were cold and I locked up at turn 10 on the lap before and flat spotted. That probably meant I was out of shape going into turn three,” the Mexican explained.

“I could have maybe waited and took things more cautiously at the time but I was just trying to get temperature into the tyres and unfortunately I went over the limit, locked up and became a passenger.

“I am already looking ahead to tomorrow and I am hopeful we are able to recover and get into strong points. I will attack from lap one and see where we end up, we have a very quick race car,” Perez concluded.

Christian Horner: An impressive qualifying from Max

Red Bull boss Christian Horner hailed the job Verstappen did in qualifying, and reflected on a qualifying of mixed fortunes for the Bulls in Canada.

He said in the team report: “It was a very impressive qualifying from Max today and despite the conditions he was on top of the circuit through all three sessions.

“With the track drying out and ramping up like that towards the end it can be very tricky to make sure you get the best time in the bag, so it was a good job by the whole team to make sure we finished on pole.

“It was unfortunate for Checo, I think he just misjudged his breaking and ended up in the barrier,” the Briton said of Perez’s Q2 knockout.

“The car was wedged under the barriers and he just couldn’t reverse out to get started again. But this is a track you can overtake on, so hopefully he can secure the team some solid points.

“It was a fantastic qualifying from Fernando and I’m sure he’s going to be motivated for tomorrow, but Max has just got to focus on a clean start, getting ahead into the first corner and then pushing on.

“We are expecting a dry day tomorrow, so hopefully it should be a good race,” Horner concluded.