Verstappen took his sixth win in nine races, strengthening his grip on the championship lead, which has grown to 46 points on team-mate Sergio Perez and 49 points on Ferrari challenger Charles Leclerc.
While Verstappen’s Canada weekend was boosted by Leclerc’s grid penalty, which took the Ferrari driver out of contention, the Dutchman still had his work cut out to defeat the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, who hounded him over the final 20 laps.
Sainz seemed to enjoy a small pace advantage over Verstappen, but couldn’t find a way past the faultless world champion.
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Despite his string of wins and his comfortable championship position, Verstappen cautioned that his Red Bull team “needs to improve” after finding out it was “not the quickest” team on Sunday.
“It’s still a very long way and I know the gap of course is quite big, but I also know that it can switch around very quickly,” he said when asked about his sizeable lead in the standings.
“I mean, race three I was 46 behind, so we just need to stay calm, we need to focus, we need to improve, because today [Sunday] we’re not the quickest.
“It swings a bit, like last weekend [at Baku] it looked good in the race, now it didn’t look as good but we still managed to win and that I think is also a quality and we just have to work together with the whole team to try and find little improvements in the car.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, 2nd position, congratulate each other in Parc Ferme
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Ferrari has often been the quickest team in qualifying, with Leclerc taking six poles to Verstappen’s two and Perez’s one, while it has found it harder to compete with the Milton Keynes-based squad over a full race distance due to tyre graining issues and a relative lack of top speed compared to the Red Bulls.
But Verstappen while thought the reasons behind Ferrari’s pace advantage on Sunday were hard to pinpoint, he said it was hardly a novelty as the form between both title contenders “goes back and forth” from race to race.
“I don’t think it’s always been that they have been quicker on Saturday and then slower on Sunday. I think in Barcelona they were also quick on Sunday and there were a few more races,” he said.
“So it just goes back and forth a bit. We need to understand of course… it also rained yesterday [Saturday]. Maybe that didn’t help for us today [Sunday] with the greener track. But that’s all things we have to look into.
“Maybe track layout, kerbs, whatever, we’ll have a look into that, but at the moment it’s difficult to really explain why they were a bit faster than us in the race.”