Max Verstappen defended Red Bull's decision to try and get through to the final stage of qualifying on Medium tyres in Canada on Saturday, saying he was "very unlucky" to get knocked out in Q2.

Verstappen was bumped out of qualifying in 11th place after struggling with traffic on his Medium-tyre lap in Q2, before a late run after switching to Softs was ruined by a late red flag caused by a crash for Haas driver Kevin Magnussen.

Despite suffering his first Q2 exit of the year, Verstappen defended Red Bull's tyre call that mirrored that of Mercedes and Ferrari amid fears over starting the race on Softs.

"Well afterwards it's easy to say, but at the time, it seemed quite logical. I just didn't have the grip I wanted, but then also I had traffic in the hairpin, otherwise we would've made it," Verstappen said.

"I had to go on the softs, and it's just very unfortunate to get the red flag. I think it's just very unlucky.

"If there was no traffic, then yeah, my lap would have been good enough. But it would've been really close anyway, so I think to be sure we would have gone out on the Soft tyre."

Had he made it through to Q3, Verstappen said he doubted a shot at pole position would have been possible given Red Bull's struggles to match Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.

"Realistically speaking, we would've been P5, because Ferrari and Mercedes were too quick," Verstappen said.

"With the mistakes some of the drivers made in Q3, looking at the times, we had a shot at P3. But that's if you do a good lap."

Verstappen will start Sunday's race from P9 on the grid after a grid penalty for Carlos Sainz and a pit lane start for Magnussen following a chassis change.

 

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