Max Verstappen wasn’t able to talk to the Red Bull pit wall in the closing stages of the Canadian GP but as, Christian Horner says, apparently he “didn’t need to”.
Verstappen battled Carlos Sainz in Sunday’s race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with the Red Bull driver seeming to have the edge. At least he did until a late Safety Car.
Deployed when Yuki Tsunoda crashed with 21 laps to go, Verstappen, who had already made his second pit stop of the afternoon, regained the lead of the race when Sainz came into the pits.
When the race got underway with 16 laps remaining, Verstappen had track position but Sainz had tyres that were five laps fresher.
He also had a working radio, something Verstappen did not have.
“We lost communication with the car,” Horner revealed to Sky Sports. “It was one-way traffic – he could hear us but we couldn’t hear him. I guess he didn’t need to!”
Verstappen held onto take the win ahead of Sainz but it was a tense final 10 laps for the Red Bull team.
“It wasn’t comfortable at all in the last 10 laps after the VSC,” Horner said. “Max just could not break the DRS.
“The Ferrari was very quick on the straight line. They could attack the kerb and stay close.
“Carlos pushed him hard. The strategy wasn’t clear. We went for the early stop. We felt it was the best route. Then Carlos got, effectively, a free stop which set it up beautifully for the end of the race.”
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Verstappen’s latest win, his sixth of this season, meant he turned a 46-point deficit after the Australian GP into a 46-point lead after Canada.
“Max is in the form of his life and the team are doing a great job,” Horner added.
“All credit to Carlos, he pushed Max really, really hard. But Max was absolutely clinical; it was a really impressive drive.”
With Red Bull’s winning streak up to seven, the Briton hopes to add an eighth to that come the next race, the British Grand Prix.
“Silverstone is one of the best circuits on the calendar, it’s going to be a record crowd again this year and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone there,” Horner said.
“I’m sure there will be huge support for the Mercedes drivers but we’re going there fired up and trying to put right what happened last year.”
But while Sunday’s race was a great one for Red Bull’s Dutch driver, Sergio Perez suffered his second retirement of this season.
The Mexican driver has gone from trailing his team-mate by 15 points after his Monaco win, to sitting 46 behind him.
“We’ve seen the swing in the championship moving around so much,” Horner said.
“He’s now got the same number of mechanical failures that Max has had, and we need to understand and address that.
“It’s too soon to write anyone off, we’re not even near the halfway point yet so there’s still a lot of racing to go.”