‘Iconic’, ‘lot of respect’, ‘racing them the best thing’ — Verstappen, Alonso and Hamilton on podium

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Yesterday’s podium in Montréal was a very special one as three of the greatest drivers to ever compete in Formula One stood on the rostrum.

Max Verstappen equalled Ayrton Senna’s total of 41 wins to join the late Brazilian in 5th on the all-time winners list in F1. The victory from the Dutchman was also Red Bull’s 100th in the sport.

Joining him on the podium was fellow two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso and seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton. Between the three of them, they have won 11 Drivers’ Championships and 176 races in the sport.

Although it was only Alonso and Hamilton who actually went wheel-to-wheel at one point, the lap times between the three World Champions were quite close for most of the race. On lap 45, they all did a 1:16.0.

The three drivers got asked in the post-race press conference about the feeling of going maximum attack throughout the race and pushing each other hard.

Max Verstappen

“10 years ago, I was not on the grid, so… Nah, I remember, back in the day, I was watching these two already in Formula 1 racing each other, right. So, of course, very happy now that I’m in Formula 1 as well and racing them is probably the best thing out there.

“When we can share a podium together – I think we’ve done it now a few times? – I think it’s great. I think of course they want to swap positions, of course. I’m happy in the middle at the moment.”

Fernando Alonso

“I mean, it’s good, it’s great. I really enjoy these battles and these podiums. It happened in Australia. I think last time and now here, and there is a lot of respect, a lot of talent when you fight against Max, Lewis.

“You know that you cannot make a mistake because they will take advantage of that, and they will not make a mistake.

“So, if you want to beat them, you need to be tenth-after-tenth, fastest to close that gap. It’s not anything that will benefit.

“It’s a very intense battle, very fair, very respectful, even in the overtaking possibility that we had on the DRS, for me when I passed Lewis, you know that you can trust what he’s doing: he will defend hard but within the limits.

“I guess same at the start, when you start in the first two rows with these guys, you know that there’s a sense of awareness and respect that it’s not sometimes in other parts.”

Lewis Hamilton

“Not much more to add, but I agree with Fernando, it’s a privilege to be up here fighting these two who’ve done incredible in their careers.

“And this is quite an iconic top three. I don’t know if there’s been a top three like this ever before. I don’t believe there has.

“But yeah, so hopefully there’ll be more and hopefully, as Fernando said, there’s a lot of respect between us as we were able to race so closely and trust in one another.

“I’m really hoping at some stage we have more of a level playing field in our cars, and then we’ll have a much more exciting race I think in the future.

Up on the rostrum as well to collect the trophy for the winning constructor was Adrian Newey. The legendary British car designer wrapped up his 200th win in Formula One yesterday. The first victory for a car designed by him came all the way back at the 1991 Mexican Grand Prix.

Newey spoke to Sky Sports F1 post-race as he got asked about the remarkable number of wins and his favourite highlights.

“It’s really been an amazing journey, it was my dream always to be an engineer in motor racing and so when I got my first job in motor racing and salary, that was the big moment. Everything else has been a bonus.

“The ones that stand out are the first at Mexico and then where the championship has gone down to the wire.

“This was very often Abu Dhabi with Sebastian against Fernando and then obviously Max against Lewis.”

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool