June 24, 2024

Max Verstappen offered strong words of support to George Russell after privately consoling the Mercedes driver at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday. Russell, who started in pole position, made several costly mistakes that saw him drop to third behind Verstappen and Lando Norris.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve provided one of the most memorable qualifying sessions and races in recent history. Verstappen, Norris, and Russell’s three-way battle for victory suggested that Red Bull’s dominance might be challenged, despite Verstappen ultimately taking the checkered flag.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen wins Canadian Grand Prix for third year in a row  | Motorsports News | Al Jazeera

Russell led the race for 20 laps after securing Mercedes’ first pole position since Hungary last year. He managed to hold off intense pressure from Verstappen, who started alongside him on the front row, marking just the second time in F1 history that two drivers recorded the same lap time in Q3.

However, Russell was deeply disappointed after the race, feeling he had missed out on delivering Mercedes’ first win since Sao Paolo in 2022 due to his mistakes.

Verstappen showed his true character after achieving the 60th victory of his F1 career and extending his lead in the race for a fourth successive Drivers’ Championship. Despite claiming that Mercedes had the fastest car in Montreal, the Dutchman reassured Russell that he would learn from the experience.

“For sure [it was a three-way battle]. I think overall, when you look, Mercedes had the fastest car,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1. “So, of course, I would also be disappointed, but it’s so easy to make a mistake.

“I literally told George [Russell the same thing] already before because he was a bit upset with himself probably. These things can happen. We’re all pushing to the limit.

“Sometimes it works out for you; sometimes you make one mistake too much, and it can catch you out. But that’s racing as well. I’m sure he will look back and learn from it. We’re all very young still. You learn a lot in your career.”

Verstappen also noted that Lando Norris was affected by the safety car, which hindered McLaren despite their strong performance on intermediates. “They could’ve created a big gap, but that’s racing, and it’s very good for Formula One. When you have a lot of different teams fighting for the win, it makes it really exciting up front.”

Max Verstappen wins a rainy and chaotic F1 race in Canada as rivals  challenge Red Bull

Although Russell was disappointed, Mercedes’ race pace and their first podium finish of 2024 gave team principal Toto Wolff plenty to be optimistic about. After a weekend off, fans are eagerly anticipating the Spanish Grand Prix, hoping it will deliver as much excitement as the race in Canada.

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