Verstappen ‘gave it all’ to fend off Sainz

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen gave it everything in the final laps of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix to ensure he remained ahead of Carlos Sainz.

The Red Bull driver held a slender advantage over his former team-mate in the final 15 laps after a late Safety Car.

With fresher tyres, Sainz appeared to hold a pace advantage over the leader, but was never able to get close enough to make a decisive move.

At the chequered flag, the margin of victory was just 0.993s after 70 laps of racing.

“The Safety Car didn’t help,” Verstappen admitted.

“I think overall they were very quick in the race, so it would have been really tough for me to close that gap to the end, even on fresher tyres.”

Verstappen had led the early stages, though it was Sainz who found himself out front as the race began to work towards its climax.

A Safety Car for Yuki Tsunoda on Lap 49 was ideally timed for the Spaniard, who took to the lane and bolted on a fresh set of hard compound tyres.

It cost him track position, but left him with a six-lap tyre advantage over Verstappen.

“It was really exciting at the end,” the Dutchman said of the run to the flag.

“I was giving it everything I had, of course Carlos was doing the same.

“Following is tricky around here, but I could see he was pushing, charging, pushing.

“But of course that when you’re on the DRS, it’s a bit easier to charge.

“The last few laps were a lot of fun.”

Verstappen had stopped early, pitting under a Virtual Safety Car when Sergio Perez ground to a halt with an apparent transmission issue.

He then stopped again on Lap 43, a set of hard compound tyres again fitted to his RB18 for the run home.

Ferrari by contrast left Sainz on track until Lap 20, pitting him from the lead before taking the opportunity Tsunoda afforded them later on.

“I think they [Ferrari] were very strong in the race, so yes, it would have been tricky to catch up,” Verstappen said of the prospect of chasing Sainz down in the closing laps.

“But then of course the Safety Car came out, so they had fresh tyres.

“Then I was like, well, I think I would have preferred attacking instead of defending, but luckily it worked out.”

Victory in Canada saw Verstappen extend his title advantage, team-mate Perez remaining second though failing to add to his tally to now sit 49 points down.

Charles Leclerc, who finished fifth from 19th, has closed in third to now sit on 126 points, while Sainz is fifth on 102.

F1 next heads to the British Grand Prix on July 1-3.

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