Verstappen wary of Red Bull top speed deficit

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While Verstappen topped the times, his teammate Daniel Ricciardo spent much of FP2 in the garage.

Ricciardo, whose contract with Red Bull is up after the season, playfully refused to confirm or deny that he has been contacted by Ferrari or Mercedes.

Now, Red Bull chief Christian Horner has given his support to Verstappen after he threatened the press.

It was at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix that Hamilton won his first Formula One race, and he's since gone on to emerge victorious in five of the last eight trips to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Red Bull is running new Renault engines in both cars this weekend and, fortunately for Ricciardo, the problem was rectified without the need for a component change.

Sebastian Vettel, who trails Hamilton by 14 points in the title standings after six races, was fifth for Ferrari, seven-tenths off the pace ahead of Finn Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes. In qualifying he finished at the back of the customary battle between the top three teams, almost 0.2s off Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, who managed to split the Mercedes drivers and claim third position. I know it's fourth but I'm actually happy.

"Now he (Verstappen) is in the spotlight. any small error now I think he's probably going to get a little picked apart from", Ricciardo said.

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.

Asked whether his Friday clean sweep meant pole position could be on the cards, Verstappen replied: "In terms of pole position, I think Mercedes will be very strong again".

"It's a positive start to the weekend", the Dutchman said.

Renault has brought a power unit upgrade to Montreal, but Mercedes and Ferrari made up the top three through the speed trap in sectors one and two on Friday, with Verstappen second quickest to Kimi Raikkonen in sector three.

Red Bull elected to run on the hypersoft compound in Q2, a strategic decision destined to provide its drivers with an edge at the outset on Sunday and keep them out of sequence thereafter against their direct rivals who will all be starting on the harder ultrasoft rubber. Team-mate Sainz put the back end of his vehicle into the wall early in the afternoon and managed just nine laps. "I'm exhausted of all the comments that I should change", he said. "So it sets us up to be aggressive in attack, so should hopefully make for some good TV as well". "I think it would have been a close fight for the pole with the new engine". The one from the failure in China is alive, hence we haven't got a penalty.

"We extracted the best we could out of qualifying", he said.