Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko believes that Max Verstappen gave a fitting answer to his critics. To be precise, his third place in Canada after a series of frustrating weekends was a welcome confidence booster.
Verstappen was under increasing pressure to live up to expectations following a string of incidents in early 2018. The latest was a practice crash in Monaco that left him languishing at the back of the grid.
Fortunately, he bounced back in Montreal by topping all three practice sessions. In qualifying he ended up third on the grid. Come race day, Bottas defended his position and Max ended up tailing him for third in the race.
“Generally for the whole team it’s a real relief to have both cars in the finish,” Marko said.
“One podium, one fourth. And also, for Max, all these stupid critics are stopping.
“He did the best time in practice three times, he qualified third, and he didn’t do anything wrong, not one little bit of damage, not even a rim.
“So that’s what we expect from him, and I’m sure there will come more races like that. “He delivered, so I think he gave the right answer.”
Marko was relatively satisfied with Red Bull’s Canada pace considering Montreal is known as a power-hungry track. According to him, Verstappen’s 3rd was the best result that they could have hoped for. This can be attributed to the difficulty in overtaking during last weekend’s race.
“You saw the speed, [Daniel] Ricciardo did fastest lap on the last lap [which was later removed because of the chequered flag confusion], and Max was catching dramatically on Bottas,” said Marko.
“So maybe we should have attacked a little bit earlier.
“[But] it looks like overtaking is forbidden [in Montreal]. I think it was the maximum.”
Red Bull opted for an alternate strategy from its main rivals by running hypersofts in Q2. So, while Ferrari and Mercedes were on ultrasofts, Red Bull started on the pink-walled hypersofts.
Marko said that they did not regret their strategy and it was crucial for Ricciardo to leapfrog Lewis Hamilton in the pitstops for fourth.
“The tyres were the best choice we had to gain places,” Marko added. “It worked with Ricciardo, it nearly worked with Max.”