On Sunday, world champion Max Verstappen expanded his lead in this year’s Formula One championship battle by driving his Red Bull to an exciting win in a tightly contested Canadian Grand Prix.
The young Dutchman, who is just 24 years old, dominated a strategic race from the pole position all the way through three incidents involving the safety car. He also withstood tremendous late pressure from Carlos Sainz, who was driving for Ferrari, to take the victory by a margin of less than a second.
Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, finished third for Mercedes to capture his second podium of a trying season ahead of teammate George Russell, who finished fourth. Hamilton’s vehicle was ruled “undriveable” on Friday, but he still managed to finish the race.
It was Verstappen’s first win in Canada in his 150th career start, his sixth this year and the 26th of his career, and it propelled him 46 points ahead of his competitors in the championship standings.
According to Verstappen, “I was giving it all I had.” “But Carlos was the same way. He was pushing and charging, pushing and charging, pushing and charging. Naturally, using DRS makes charging a lot less difficult! I had fun today.”
According to Sainz, “We were quicker, faster the whole race; but, it’s impossible to pass around here.” I’m very thrilled with how fast the race was going and how much pressure we placed on Max.
Hamilton, a record seven-time champion in Montreal, praised the large audience, which was part of a weekend attendance of 338,000, and remarked that he was “overwhelmed to gain third place. ” Although this has been quite a struggle for us, we have never given up. I’ve gotten a lot of ideas from my team.”
Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, who had to start at the back of the grid because he had to take a penalty for a new engine, ended up finishing fifth, ahead of Esteban Ocon and his Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso, as well as Valtteri Bottas and his Alfa Romeo teammate Zhou Guanyu.
A local favourite, Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll finished 10th overall.
Following the torrential downpour that occurred on Saturday, the race started with a jumbled up “wet” grid. Leclerc, Perez, and a few other drivers were not in the positions that they normally start in, but Verstappen got a clean start from his 15th pole position to seize the lead.
Behind him, Kevin Magnussen made a stunning departure from fifth to threaten Hamilton, but the Briton resisted and maintained fourth as the order settled, with Russell making his move early to overtake Mick Schumacher for seventh place.
Sainz overtook Alonso on lap three to move into second place and began his chase of Verstappen. Alonso had failed to produce the aggressive start that Sainz had promised, thus Sainz was able to go ahead of him.
On the ninth lap, when Perez was pushing for a position in the middle of the grid after starting 13th, the drive on his Red Bull failed at Turn 13. “I’ve lost the engine, mate,” he informed the team as a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was deployed. At the same time, Verstappen and Hamilton quickly pitted to swap from mediums to hards. Hamilton was in the lead.
Sainz, who was going for his maiden win in Formula One, raced ahead of the field as Verstappen used a DRS manoeuvre to sneak by Alonso and into second place on lap 18.
A second virtual safety car event occurred on lap 20, when Schumacher stopped at Turn 13 and withdrew from the race. This came after he had achieved his best ever grid position of sixth. It seemed as if the power had been cut out to his Haas vehicle.
Also making his pit stop was Sainz, who rejoined the race in third place, ahead of Hamilton. Meanwhile, Verstappen retook the lead position ahead of Alonso, who did not make his pit stop.
Because Alpine was reluctant to bring Alonso in for fresh medium tyres, Hamilton was able to easily past him for third place on lap 25.
After 29 laps, the two-time champion eventually came in and re-joined the race in ninth position, behind Leclerc, who was having difficulty passing Ocon on worn tyres. Leclerc sighed in exasperation and remarked, “I don’t have grip.”
After the first half of the race, Verstappen had a 7.5-second lead over Sainz, while Hamilton was third, nine seconds behind them.
After another lap, Verstappen made his second pit stop and emerged close behind Hamilton. Hamilton made his second stop on lap 45, which temporarily gave third position to Russell until Russell also stopped.
When Yuki Tsunoda wrecked his Alpha Tauri at Turn Two with 20 circuits to remaining, the complete Safety Car was deployed and Sainz regained the lead, this time with a 7.5-second advantage over Verstappen.
Sainz was the first to pit, followed by both Alpines and Bottas, and all three drivers selected mediums.
After a 10-minute break, the action continued with a last rush to the flag. At that point, despite having reclaimed the lead, Verstappen faced a tight battle with the Spaniard.