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Max Verstappen Takes Victory at a Tense Canadian Grand Prix

5 Mins read
Image: Peter Fox/Getty Images.

Max Verstappen has won the Canadian Grand Prix for Oracle Red Bull Racing after fending off a very fast Carlos Sainz Jr. in the dying stages of the race. The Dutchman has extended his lead in the drivers championship, while team-mate Sergio Pérez found himself retiring from the race in the first stint with power unit issues.

Verstappen survived two virtual safety cars (VSC) and a full safety car to take his sixth victory in nine races, while team-mate Pérez ended a weekend to forget for the Mexican, who was unable to make it through to Qualifying Three on Saturday due to a mistake in the rain putting him in the barriers. He was making ground before he pulled over at the chicane with a mechanical issue, with his retirement bringing out the first of the VSC’s.

However, Verstappen was unchallenged for most of the race, which still gives Red Bull important points for the constructors championship. He did, however, need to survive a late race attack from Sainz, who had pitted for fresh tyres just as the safety car was deployed following a crash from Yuki Tsunoda as he exited the pit lane.

Despite having the Drag Reduction System (DRS) available to him for the closing laps, Sainz, who started third, was unable to get close enough to Verstappen to make an attempt for the lead, and ultimately he was forced to settle for second. The Spaniard is still looking for his first win in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, but certainly seems to be on the right track again after some tough races at the start of the season.

Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc would finish the race around the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in fifth place, having started from nineteenth due to power unit penalties. Leclerc has certainly performed well with damage limitation in mind, but will be asking Ferrari about the questionable strategy that saw him stuck behind Esteban Ocon at the end of his first stint. He was amongst the last to make his first trip to the pits, but Tsunoda’s crash and the subsequent safety car gave him a quick car and fresher tyres than the drivers ahead of him and he was able to climb from eleventh at the restart into the top five.

After struggling with his car in practice, Lewis Hamilton finished third in Montréal, marking his second podium of the season. The Briton has had a lot of difficulty with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team car this year, as well as with some unlucky calls, but will enjoy being on the third step of the podium for the first time since Bahrain.

Hamilton out-qualified his team-mate, George Russell, who opted to risk a final lap on dry tyres in qualifying, and was able to keep ahead of him for most of the race, pulling away in the final stint. Russell did, however, finish behind the champion in fourth, marking a very good finish for Mercedes, who will be happy with twenty-seven points. The two Mercedes drivers switched places during the two early VSC’s but once the race settled down, they were able to consolidate their positions in third and fourth.

Alpine cross the line as ‘best of the rest’

BWT Alpine F1 Team were the fourth best team in Canada, but will be looking back at the race wondering what could have been. Fernando Alonso did an excellent job to put his car second on the grid in qualifying, but was unable to keep up with the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari in the race. After failing to pit under two Virtual Safety Cars, Alonso lost position to the Mercedes drivers and his team-mate to finish seventh, on what was a questionable strategy from the French team.

Ocon, who finished sixth, had a good race to out-score his team-mate and fend off a charging Leclerc. Alpine are still fifth in the constructors championship, but have closed the gap to McLaren F1 Team to just four points.

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN had another productive weekend, scoring points with both drivers in an impressive eighth and ninth place finish. Valtteri Bottas would finish ahead of team-mate, Zhou Guanyu, with the latter having his best race of the year to date and scoring his second points of the 2022 F1 season.

Lance Stroll would take the final point at his home Grand Prix despite starting seventeenth, with the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team driver overtaking Daniel Ricciardo in the dying stages of the race. Meanwhile his team-mate Sebastian Vettel would cross the line in twelfth.

Image: Aston Martin F1 Media Portal.

At McLaren, Ricciardo would split the two Aston Martin drivers, finishing five seconds behind the Canadian in the final standings. Lando Norris, was only able to finish fifteenth after a very slow pitstop dropped him to the back of the pack. The Woking-based team opted to double-stack their cars under the safety car, but a slow stop for Ricciardo delayed Norris’ entry to the pit box. The number four car then had further issues when the mechanics confused themselves over which tyres needed to be fitted to the car – even having to return to the garage to find the correct set. McLaren will certainly be disappointed with this result, after a double point-scoring finish in Baku last week.

Alexander Albon once again came close to the points with a thirteenth place finish for William F1 Team, while Nicolas Latifi would end the race in sixteenth. Albon has been in great form this year, in what is his first year back after a year away.

Pierre Gasly crossed the line in fourteenth after managing a mechanical issue during the race. Tsunoda failed to finish the race after crashing at Turn two, having just pitted for fresh tyres. The Japanese driver locked his front wheels and went straight into the wall at the pit exit, in what was a clumsy accident. Scuderia AlphaTauri will not be leaving Canada with smiles on their faces, after a very tough race.

Finally, Haas F1 Team were undoubtedly the unluckiest team this weekend, after what was a phenomenal qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher were able to set times good enough for fifth and sixth respectively in soaking wet conditions, at the end of qualifying. Magnussen would soon drop to the back of the pack in the first stint of the race when contact with Hamilton damaged his front wing and gave him the black and orange flag. Meanwhile, Schumacher lost a great opportunity for his first points finish when a mechanical failure put him out of the race, with his retirement bringing out the second VSC.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Race Result

11Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1:36:21.757
255Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPScuderia Ferrari+0.993s
344Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team+7.006s
463George RussellGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team+12.313s
516Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari+15.168s
631Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team+23.890s
714Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team+24.945s
877Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN+25.247s
924Zhou GuanyuFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN+26.952s
1018Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team+38.222s
113Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team+43.047s
125Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team+44.245s
1323Alexander AlbonTHAWilliams F1 Team+44.893s
1410Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri+45.183s
154Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+52.145s
166Nicolas LatifiCANWilliams F1 Team+59.978s
1720Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team+68.180s
1822Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauriDNF
1947Mick SchumacherGERHaas F1 TeamDNF
2011Sergio PérezMEXOracle Red Bull RacingDNF
Data courtesy of Formula 1.

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Joe McCormick is a 20-year old Formula 1 journalist and writer from Devon, who loves everything F1!
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