Race Weekend Central

Max Verstappen Reinforces Dominance, Coasts to Canadian GP Win

Does anyone notice a pattern?

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen controlled the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and seized his second consecutive Canadian Grand Prix win and Red Bull’s 100th Formula 1 win. It was Verstappen’s fourth consecutive win and sixth of the season, extending his massive lead in the drivers standings. Verstappen also tied Ayrton Senna on the all-time wins list with 41.

Verstappen dusted Fernando Alonso, who was promoted to second on the grid after Nico Hulkenberg’s grid penalty, at the start and was relatively unchallenged on a clear day in Montreal, the weather vastly different than Saturday’s (June 17) rainy and windy qualifying conditions. 

“It was not a very straightforward race because the tires were not really getting in their window,” Verstappen told Sky Sports’ Jenson Button after the race.

“It was very cold today compared to Friday and we were sliding around quite a bit. But yeah, we made it work and to win again, today win the 100th Grand Prix for the team, that’s incredible. It’s amazing. I mean, I never expected to be on these kinds of numbers myself as well. We keep enjoying, we keep working hard, but today has been a great day again.”

Verstappen comfortably kept Lewis Hamilton at bay, well out of DRS range, and was two seconds clear after six laps. Verstappen decisively built his lead throughout the race and as has become his sign of dominance, effectively removed all drama from the race’s outcome, even joking that he nearly “killed himself” jumping a curb late in the race.

Alonso had an eventful race, giving up second to Hamilton at the start, tagging the turn 4 wall on lap 4, then regaining the position from Hamilton on lap 23. Then Alonso had to carefully manage a rear brake issue by lifting and coasting for several mid-race laps, and Hamilton nearly closed to DRS range. But the wily Alonso cooled his brakes and held on for a five-second cushion over Hamilton, and Alonso was back on the podium after a one-race absence.

Hamilton, starting third, finished third and scored his second straight podium, albeit 14 seconds behind Verstappen’s Honda-powered bullet. Hamilton got a great launch at the start to overtake Alonso into turn 1, but gave it back on lap 23. Hamilton charged late, but never seriously challenged Alonso. 

George Russell hit the wall on lap 12, which resulted in a safety car and wholesale pit stops, and Verstappen, Hamilton, and Alonso pitted to switch from medium to hard tires. The Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, who started 10th and 11th, respectively, chose not to pit, staying on the medium compound, and moved up to fourth and fifth, respectively, with Sergio Perez chasing on the longer-life hard tire. 

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The Ferrari decision meant they were the only cars on medium tires, and would have to pit, while all the other cars could potentially go to the end on the hard tires. Without a timely safety car, it appeared Ferrari may have made an error in their strategy. But Sainz and Leclerc put the necessary distance to the cars behind them, then pitted on laps 39 and 40, maintaining their positions, and Ferrari could pat themselves on the back for a relieving job well done. They finished fifth and sixth, well ahead of Perez.

Perez, who started 12th after failing to reach Q3 for the third consecutive race, boosted his confidence and Red Bull’s constructors standing, with a sixth-place finish, adding an extra point with the fastest lap on the final lap. 

Russell miraculously survived his brush with the wall, and resumed with a new front wing and fresh tires. Russell managed his hard tires and was into the points on lap 37 and charging. He was up to seventh on lap 55 before brake duct issues forced his retirement. 

Alex Albon, who advanced to Q3 on Saturday, salvaged Williams fortunes after Logan Sargeant’s early retirement with a seventh-place finish, giving Williams points for the first time since Albon’s 10th in Bahrain.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon basically held serve, finishing eighth after starting seventh.

Hometown hero Lance Stroll gave the crowd a boost, charging late to take ninth.

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas grabbed the final points-paying position, scoring his first points since the season’s second race at Bahrain.

Canadian Grand Prix Results

Up next is the Rolex Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on July 2. Coverage begins at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.

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