Max Verstappen accepts fifth place was “realistically where we expected to finish” with a recovery drive for Red Bull after missing out in qualifying at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Dutch driver was the unlucky 11th-placed driver to miss out on Q3 following Kevin Magnussen’s untimely crash in Q2 which triggered a late red flag to leave him stranded in qualifying.

After a clean start to his race going on a long first stint on hard tyres, he comfortably cleared both Red Bull teammate Pierre Gasly and Renault duo Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg to take fifth place behind the leading Ferraris and Mercedes drivers.

Despite finishing in his lowest position of the season so far, having come home in either third or fourth in all of the opening six races, Verstappen was content with his Canadian GP performance which saw him retain fourth place in the drivers’ standings.

“It was a controlled drive today,” Verstappen reflected. “We stayed out of trouble at the beginning of the race and there was not much more I could do in the closing stages.

“I did a very long first stint which worked quite well to clear the traffic and once we pitted I quickly cleared the Renault’s. From there I pulled away and was able to focus on my own race but we were not quick enough to catch the leaders.

“It was at least fun doing a bit of overtaking and we scored good points again but I think realistically fifth was where we expected to finish.

“It was not our weekend and I would of course like more but we have to work hard now to try and close the gap at the next race.”



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