Max Verstappen’s damning verdict amidst Sergio Perez’s qualifying woes

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen chats with Sergio Perez in Jeddah. March 2023

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen chats with Sergio Perez.

Max Verstappen says the situation would look “very different for Red Bull” if it wasn’t for his performances with Sergio Perez failing to make it into Q3 for the third weekend in a row.

In sharp contrast, Verstappen will be starting from pole position for the third race in succession with the reigning World Champion a second up on the chasing pack in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Saturday’s qualifying took place on a wet Circuit Gilles Villeneuve although with the track drying out in the latter part of Q2, Perez found himself caught out and setting only the 12th fastest time.

He blamed strategy, saying “we were probably half a lap late and the temperature wasn’t there in the tyre, and we couldn’t get it through” before adding that he “would have been a lot higher… into the top three.”

But on the other side of the garage his team-mate applauded Red Bull for making the right calls and spoke of the importance of getting in a “decent lap”. While Perez’s lap was only good enough for 12th place, Verstappen got through into Q3 with the second fastest time.

He went onto bag pole position with a 1:25.858, 1.2s faster than second-placed Nico Hulkenberg.

Perez, though, shouldn’t head over to Verstappen’s side of the garage if he’s looking for a sympathetic shoulder with the Dutchman adamant he’s only concerned with his own performances.

“Well, if I hadn’t been there it would have looked very different for Red Bull,” he said as per

“I wouldn’t be happy with not making Q3 three times in a row. recommends

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“I’m not concerned about it either. I’m busy enough on my side of the garage getting everything in order. I pay all my attention to that.”

Asked whether Red Bull had been working to help Perez bounce back, Verstappen replied: “The team must be working on that maybe, but you have to ask them.

“On Friday, of course, I was already busy getting the car better, so then I’m not going to think about that.

“It’s not my problem.”

Perez’s P12 in Montreal is the third qualifying in a row in which he’s failed to make it into the pole position shoot-out with the driver crashing in Monaco, leaving him 19th on the grid, and then in the gravel in Spain where he lined up 11th.

He’s scored just 12 points between Monaco and Spain with Verstappen bringing in full marks to race out to a 53-point lead over his team-mate in the Drivers’ standings.

Perez says he’ll try “everything” on Sunday to score good points.

“It’s going to be hard to overtake,” he told the official F1 website. “but we will try everything – we will try everything to come through the field.”

Team boss Christian Horner is backing his driver to recover, saying: “This is a track that you can overtake at, the forecast is saying it’ll be a dry race, he’s a great racer and he’s got a fast car, so I’d be disappointed if we weren’t much further up the order.”