Although Max Verstappen took the chequered flag at the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix, the reigning World Champion believes Ferrari had the car to beat.
The Dutchman started Sunday’s race on pole and was involved in a race-long battle with Carlos Sainz, who missed out on a maiden F1 win by less than a second.
Verstappen admitted after the race that Ferrari, more specifically Sainz, had the better pace around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which made his late defence all the more enjoyable.
“It was a tough race,” Verstappen told reporters after the race. “I expected to have a little bit more pace, but we seemed to lack a little bit compared to Carlos. That’s the only one I could compare to with the Ferrari.
“It was a bit more difficult than I expected. We did our strategy and I think for us, it worked, it was the right one to do. [After] that second stop, of course, I had the fresher tyres and I was closing in on Carlos, but I wasn’t sure if I would fully close that gap to the end of the race,
“But then the Safety Car came out and I was also not very happy with that because I knew he had fresh tyres behind me, and with a little bit more pace compared to me that is difficult to defend.
“The last 15-16 laps we were flat out, pushing to the limit, and I knew that I couldn’t make a mistake. It was was good racing, it’s always more enjoyable to be able to really push in a Formula 1 car instead of just saving your tyres.”
Verstappen navigated radio issues as well
Along with having to fend off a fast-charging Ferrari, Verstappen‘s race was made even tougher due to a radio issue. Once the race was completed, his Red Bull team could be heard celebrating, but there was no response from the Dutchman.
“I have no clue when it stopped, but at one point GP [Gianpiero Lambiase] told me that it wasn’t working anymore,” Verstappen said.
“It must have been working before, or it already didn’t work before, which they probably didn’t mind.
“As long as I could hear him, that’s the most important thing.”