Max Verstappen now also wins the Canadian Grand Prix after an exciting duel with Carlos Sainz and is already doing great business in the title fight

What preceded…

The Canadian Grand Prix was back on the Formula 1 calendar after a two-year absence due to the corona pandemic. The city of Montréal celebrated, throughout the weekend countless fans descended on the Île Notre-Dame to watch the drivers at work on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The lucky ones with a ticket were already served their needs on Saturday. They had to brave a day of rain for it, but in return they got a smashing qualifying session.

Max Verstappen dominated on the wet track and took pole position ahead of the surprising Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari). With Sergio Pérez in thirteenth place (after an error in qualifying) and Charles Leclerc in penultimate place (due to grid penalties for changing engine parts), the Canadian Grand Prix promised fireworks.

How did the start go?

Fernando Alonso had promised that he would fight for first place at the start, but it never came to that. Max Verstappen kept his lead without any problems ahead of Alonso and his compatriot Sainz. Just behind the top three there was an incident between Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen: the latter tried to squeeze next to the Mercedes, but damaged his nose. Magnussen was forced to get a new front wing a few laps later.

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How did the victory come about?

As expected, Verstappen pulled a gap to the rest in the opening laps while Sainz took over second from Alonso. But it was not all roses and moons at Red Bull: Sergio Pérez retired after just eight laps with a mechanical problem, thus providing a virtual safety car. An important moment in the race, because who would bet on an early tire change?

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In the leading group, two drivers decided to take a chance: leader Verstappen and number four Hamilton. Sainz thus took over the lead. On lap twenty, another VSC came when Mick Schumacher came to a halt: Sainz decided to make a pit stop at the last minute, putting Verstappen back in the lead. Alonso was unable to get in in time to take advantage and continued on his old tires.

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After all the pit stops, Verstappen was in the lead, but Sainz little by little started to nibble at his 10-second deficit. Verstappen then decided to get new tires himself on lap 42, which put Sainz back in the lead. But Red Bull’s plan would not work as hoped: a few laps later Yuki Tsunoda braked on the exit of the pits, after which he ended up in the tire stacks. safety car.

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Verstappen narrowly regained the lead, but immediately got Sainz behind him when the latter made his pit stop. They were followed by the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Russell, the two Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Alonso, and Charles Leclerc, who had fought his way to seventh place from the back row – despite a poor pit stop by Ferrari.

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The race resumed with 16 laps to go. While Leclerc outwitted both Alpines and advanced to five, Sainz’s other Ferrari opened the chase for Verstappen. The Spaniard crept within a second of the leader and was allowed to use DRS, but Sainz could never get close enough to launch an attack. Verstappen withstood the pressure and recorded his sixth win of the year, while Sainz again missed his first-ever win.

Behind the two ruffs, Lewis Hamilton was third on the podium. He was followed by Russell, Leclerc and the two Alpines of Ocon and Alonso. The two Alfa Romeos of Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou finished eighth and ninth, home driver Lance Stroll took the last point.

Who distinguished himself?

Max Verstappen showed once again in Canada why he is the reigning world champion. The Dutchman demonstrated in qualifying, but came under heavy pressure at the end of the race from the clearly faster Carlos Sainz Jr. Verstappen kept his cool and took the victory again. He and no one else is the clear favorite for the world title, because who is going to make up for that big gap on him?

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In front of Mercedes it was a hopeful weekend in Canada. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell showed a good pace throughout the race and were able to drive to third and fourth place after the last safety car. Not the result they want after all those world titles in recent years, but realistically Mercedes can’t hope for much more than this at the moment. Work continues on the way up, that much is clear.

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He has been emphatically in the shadow of his experienced teammate Sebastian Vettel in recent weeks and the criticism was not less. But in his home race, luck smiled Lance Stroll anyway. The Canadian with a Belgian mother benefited from a good strategy, made some overtakes in the final phase and was rewarded with a tenth place and a corresponding point in Montréal. It will have to be at least as good for the rest of the season if he wants to silence the criticism, but Stroll can be satisfied with this result.

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Finally also get Charles Leclerc a more than honorable mention. With a fifth place and a fifteen-point loss to World Cup leader Verstappen, you can’t really call him a winner, but from nineteenth place on the grid, the young Monegask probably couldn’t have done better. A great race from Leclerc, but in the World Cup position he doesn’t buy anything for it.

Who didn’t have their day?

Sergio PerezI suddenly seemed like a candidate for the world title after his victory in Monaco, but two races later he may be allowed to put those dreams away (for a while?). The Mexican smashed his windows on Saturday by crashing in qualifying, on Sunday his car gave up after just eight laps. Checo is still second in the world championship, but the gap with teammate Verstappen is now 46 points.

It was not a great day for the two Spaniards in the field either. Carlos Sainz Jr. got another chance to take his first-ever Formula 1 win, but instead came second for the fifth time – and it’s not the first time he’s finished close to the winner. compatriot Fernando Alonso was unable to convert his fine second starting position into a top result: Alonso even ended up in seventh place behind teammate Ocon. Due to a lesser strategy and a somewhat faltering engine, as it turned out later.

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Hare started fifth and sixth at the Canadian Grand Prix. Very promising, but at the finish the harvest is very meager. Kevin Magnussen sidelined himself by damaging his front wing with an optimistic attempt to overtake Lewis Hamilton. After Magnussen’s unforeseen pit stop (who eventually became seventeenth and last, ed.) All hopes of the American team were pinned on Mick Schumacher, but he fell due to mechanical failure. And thus saw his first points again slip through his fingers.

How high was the spectacle value?

It was certainly not the most spectacular Canadian Grand Prix of all time, but the strategies were shaken up to three times by the retirements of Pérez, Schumacher and Tsunoda and the accompanying (virtual) safety cars. That ensured that there was something to do on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve until the end, because Carlos Sainz did not allow Max Verstappen a second of rest in the final phase.

What do we remember from this race?

That Red Bull has already won its sixth race in a row and that Max Verstappen has done another fantastic job in the battle for the world championship. The Dutchman already has 46 points ahead of teammate Pérez and 49 on Leclerc. Who is going to love Verstappen for a second consecutive title? The competition will really have to start the remonte at the next race in Silverstone, in two weeks, if they still want to threaten him.

© AFP

Canadian GP results:

1) Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2) Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari)

3) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4) George Russell (Mercedes)

5) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

6) Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

7) Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

8) Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)

9) Guanyu Zhou (Alpha Romeo)

10) Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

11) Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

12) Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

13) Alexander Albon (Williams)

14) Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)

15) Lando Norris (McLaren)

16) Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

17) Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

Didn’t finish:

Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)

Mick Schumacher (Haas)

Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

Standings World Championship drivers:

1) Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 175 points

2) Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 129 points

3) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 126 points

4) George Russell (Mercedes) – 111 points

5) Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari) – 102 points

6) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 77 points

7) Lando Norris (McLaren) – 50 points

8) Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) – 44 points

9) Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 39 points

10) Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 22 points

11) Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 16 points

12) Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – 15 points

13) Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 15 points

14) Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 13 points

15) Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 11 points

16) Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) – 3 points

17) Alexander Albon (Williams) – 3 points

18) Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 3 points

19) Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0 points

20) Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin) – 0 points

21) Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0 points

Standings World Cup teams:

1) Red Bull – 304 points

2) Ferrari – 228 points

3) Mercedes – 188 points

4) McLaren – 65 points

5) Alpine – 61 points

6) Alfa Romeo – 47 points

7) AlphaTauri – 27 points

8) Aston Martin – 16 points

9) Hare – 15 points

10) Williams – 3 points

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