Verstappen wins in Canada ahead of Sainz, Hamilton
Russell 4th, Leclerc 5th
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took his sixth victory of the season at the Canadian Grand Prix, resisting strong pressure from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz following a late Safety Car to extend his championship lead over team-mate Sergio Pérez to 46 points. With Sainz second, Lewis Hamilton took his first podium finish since the opening round of the season, with the Mercedes driver finished ahead of team-mate George Russell and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who battle through to fifth place from 19th place on the grid.
At the race start, the field got away cleanly and at the front of the grid Verstappen powered into the lead ahead of Alonso. Sainz held third ahead of Hamilton who resisted heavy pressure from Haas’ Kevin Magnussen. Further back, Pérez also made a good start and he quickly rose to P11 ahead of Williams’ Alex Albon.
At the front, Verstappen quickly began to carve out a gap and by lap three the Dutchman was almost three seconds clear of Alonso who was holding off Sainz. However, when DRS was enabled, the Ferrari driver used the speed boost to pass Alonso on the run to the final chicane. Elsewhere, Magnussen, who had sustained front wing damage at the start, was shown black and orange flags on lap 7 and he pitted to have the wing changed.
On the next lap, Pérez’s race came to an end when he suddenly slowed on the approach to Turn 8 and he ground to a halt in the run-off area. The Virtual Safety Car was deployed and Verstappen immediately headed for the pit lane for hard tyres. He emerged in third place behind new leader Sainz, and second-placed Alonso.
The VSC period finished at the end of lap 10 with Verstappen in third place, 6.5s behind Sainz and 4.0s off Alonso. Mercedes’ George Russell held fourth place while the Briton’s team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, who also chose to pit under the caution, was soon past Alpine’s Esteban Ocon to take fifth. Further back, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had climbed to 13thplace after starting from P19 on the grid. At the end of lap 13 he passed McLaren’s Lando Norris and set off after Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, who had the benefit of DRS from 10th-placed Albon.
At the end of lap 15 Verstappen closed up to Alonso in the hairpin and on the run to the final chicane he breezed past the Alpine driver to claim P2, 5.4s behind Sainz. Meanwhile, at the edge of the top 10, Botttas passed Albon on the run to the final chicane to take P10, while Leclerc powered past the Williams as they headed for the start/finish line to steal 11th.
On lap 20 Mick Schumacher stopped in the run-off area in the same spot where Pérez had retired and the VSC was again deployed. That gave Sainz and Russell the chance to make a pit stop and both took on hard tyres. Alonso, though, stayed out on track and he took second place, 7.7s behind Verstappen.
Leclerc, still on his starting hard tyres, also stayed out during the VSC and on lap 22 he found himself in seventh place. Sainz, meanwhile, passed Alonso to once again take second place and the Alpine driver was also then passed by Hamilton.
As the race reached the halfway mark, Verstappen led Sainz by eight seconds, though the Dutchman was complaining that he was beginning to struggle for grip on his hard tyres. On lap 37, Sainz, whose tyres were 10 laps newer, closed the gap to 7.4s, while Hamilton continued in third place, 10s behind the Spaniard and nine ahead of Russell. Further back Alonso began to close on sixth-placed Leclerc who was complaining that he had no rear-end grip and couldn’t mount a challenge on fifth-placed Ocon. The Ferrari driver elected to pit at the end of lap 41 but the stop was hampered by a problem with the rear left. He rejoined in 12th place, behind McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Verstappen made his second stop at the end of lap 43 and after a good stop for more hard tyres he emerged behind Hamilton. Verstappen made short work of getting past the Mercedes, at the end of lap 44, and he set off in pursuit of race leader Sainz who was 9.8s behind the Ferrari.
Leclerc, on new tyres, now began to claw his way through the pack and he soon climbed to P8. On lap 49 AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda lost control into Turn 2 and slid into the barriers. The Safety Car was deployed and Sainz took advantage of the caution to make a second pit stop. Verstappen retook the lead behind the SC and Sainz soon closed up to the Red Bull to prepare for a fight to the finish. Behind the Spaniard, Hamilton and Russell held third ahead of Ocon and Alonso and Leclerc was seventh ahead of Bottas, Vettel and Zhou.
The Safety Car left the track at the end of lap 54. Verstappen controlled the re-start perfectly and he held his lead ahead of Sainz and Hamilton. Sainz put in the fastest lap of the race on lap 56 to stay within a second of Verstappen and on lap 57 DRS was enabled. At the end of the lap the Spaniard closed in but Verstappen defended well to keep the Ferrari driver at bay. Leclerc then made a great move past Alonso in the hairpin to split the Alpine drivers and claim P6. He then put the same move on Ocon to claim fifth place.
At the front Verstappen upped his pace marginally and he began to eke out a tiny margin of comfort to Sainz and he was able to steady the gap at a little over half a second. Sainz pressed hard and there was no room for error but after 70 laps, the Dutchman crossed the line nine tenths of a second ahead of the Ferrari to take his 26th career win and his sixth win of the season. Sainz was left with second place and Hamilton took his second podium finish of the campaign with third place. Russell finished fourth ahead of Leclerc and Ocon and Alonso were fifth and sixth respectively. Bottas finished seventh for Alfa Romeo, ahead of team-mate Zhou and the final point on offer went to local hero Lance Stroll of Aston Martin.
Verstappen’s first win in Montreal means he now has a commanding 46-point championship lead over Pérez, whose DNF leaves him second, on 129 points. Leclerc’s fifth-place puts him on 126 points. In the Constructors’ Championship the team now has 304 points, 76 clear of Ferrari who have 228 points.
|01||Max Verstappen||Red Bull RBPT RB18||70 laps - 1h36m21.757s||2|
|02||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari F1-75||+0.993||2|
|03||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W13||+7.006||2|
|04||George Russell||Mercedes W13||+12.313||2|
|05||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari F1-75||+15.168||1|
|06||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A522||+23.890||2|
|07||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A522||+24.945||2|
|08||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||+25.247||1|
|09||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||+26.952||2|
|10||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||+38.222||1|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||+43.047||2|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||+44.245||2|
|13||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW44||+44.893||2|
|14||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||+45.183||2|
|15||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||+52.145||2|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW44||+59.978||2|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-22||+68.180||1|
|18||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||DNF||2|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-22||DNF||0|
|20||Sergio Perez||Red Bull RBPT RB18||DNF||0|