Verstappen took no risks with recovery to P5 in Canada

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Max Verstappen admits he played it safe during his recovery from ninth to fifth in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Following the disaster of failing to make Q3 in qualifying, the Dutchman was at least boosted by gaining two positions due to the grid penalties.

Starting on the hard tyres, it was tough going at first as he fought with Lando Norris, particularly after the Briton breezed past the Red Bull after an initial overtake at the hairpin.

“It was a controlled drive today,” Verstappen stated afterwards.

“We stayed out of trouble at the beginning of the race, you see that McLaren has good top speed because they drive with less wing. That is why he could overtake me.

“I did not want to take any risk, so I stayed behind him. When his tyres started to trouble him, I was able to overtake him, it is so hard to overtake here. It is hard to follow.”

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From that point, it was about making the white-marked tyre last before making his move on the medium compound.

“I did a very long first stint which worked quite well to clear the traffic,” he said. “I tried to preserve my tyres and then the competition in front of me had to pit.

“Once we pitted I quickly cleared the Renaults relatively easily, from there I pulled away and was able to focus on my own race.

“But we were not quick enough to catch the leaders, there was not much more I could do in the closing stages."

With the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve not typically suited to Red Bull's car philosophy, Verstappen considered what was his worst result of 2019 as the best he could achieve.

“I was able to drive my own rhythm, but that was not very quick in comparison to the top," he explained.

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

“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.”