Daniel Ricciardo suspects Mercedes have the upper hand in Canada

Tanya Simon
June 13, 2018

"Even though Max was quick all through practice, we knew the chance of pole was an outside chance", said Ricciardo.

In the Thursday press conference, Verstappen faced a barrage of questions about his approach to racing and his temperament but on Friday, he did his real talking - delivering a faultless display on a track where Red Bull was not expected to contend.

Ricciardo's running was disrupted by electrical issues that kept him sidelined for much of FP2, the Aussie believing these to be caused by the need to configure the new-spec engine that Renault introduced in Canada. While the strategy will give Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas fewer laps to become accustomed to the the hyper-soft ahead of their qualifying laps, it gave the team more super-soft and ultra-soft tyres to test during Friday practice, which are expected to be the better race tyres.

Throughout the weekend in Montreal, however, Max has been back at his best, leading the three practice sessions and then producing an excellent lap in Q3 to take third on the grid for the race, despite his rivals upping their engine modes. "I've always been fast and the pace is there every single weekend".

Going into the weekend, Mercedes-AMG's Lewis Hamilton leads the 2018 Drivers' Championship with 110 points.

"They'll be hard to beat, " the Australian said.

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From the start, Verstappen nearly got the jump on Bottas, but the Finn held his line around the outside of Turn 1 to take the inside line into the next corner, keeping hold of second spot.

The young Dutchman clocked the best time of the day in the afternoon session, one minute, 12.198 seconds, ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull team mate and Monaco Grand Prix victor Daniel Ricciardo. When you feel confident with the auto then you can do a good job.

Verstappen, who also spun out in Australia and finished sixth, said he's not going to change the approach that made him, at the age of 17, the youngest driver ever to compete in Formula One.

But after the dreary spectacle in Monaco a fortnight ago, at least we can rely on one of the finest overtakers in the sport fighting his way back through the field to provide the entertainment this weekend.

"If the others are sliding around in dirty air or whatever, we should be able to get a bit more out of them". The tyres were holding on really well at the end when I was challenging Valtteri because he was fuel saving which shows our auto was working well and for sure we have a very competitive vehicle at the moment. Fortunately the forecast looks good this year, with only partly cloudy skies predicted for both Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race. I feel like we had one run here, one run there to kind of get it right.

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