Race Weekend Central

Max Verstappen Returns to Form at Canadian Grand Prix

George Russell took the lead from the pole position under wet conditions at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday (June 9). With the weather playing an unpredictable muse, Russell could do only so much to hold off Max Verstappen and Lando Norris for so long.

The win is Verstappen’s 60th, third consecutive in Montreal, and snaps a two-race winless spell.

“It was a pretty crazy race,” Verstappen told Sky Sports. “A lot of things we happening and we really had to be on top of our calls. I think, as a team, we just did really well today. We remained calm. I think we pitted at the right time. Of course the safety car worked out nicely for us, but even after that we were managing the gaps quite well.

“I love it. That was a lot of fun. Those kind of races, you need them once in a while.”

Lando Norris took second and held close to Verstappen’s rear wing after leading the race for a stint beginning on lap 21 and ending a few laps later. Russell earned the final step on the podium to grab third.

Fernando Alonso frustrated Lewis Hamilton for half the duration of the grand prix and wound up sixth as Hamilton finally ended the challenge and earned fourth with his Mercedes team, delivering a pit stop advantage on lap 25. With Hamilton ahead of Alonso, he focused his challenge on Oscar Piastri for position, a battle that looked to go in Piastriʻs favor when Hamilton seemed to have pitted too early for slick tires on lap 44.

Piastri wound up fifth with Alonso in sixth. Lance Stroll put together a solid effort at his home grand prix and earned the seventh position. Daniel Ricciardo drove the kind of race that is expected of the eight-time GP winner, ending his day in eighth.

In what seems like irony, after Alpine’s terrible weekend in Monaco, and after the team decided to jettison Esteban Ocon at the end of the year, the organization’s drivers took the last two points positions, Pierre Gasly in ninth, Ocon in 10th.

By lap 10, the sun emerged and the racing line at Circuit Jacques Villeneuve dried significantly. For drivers on intermediate wet tires, the conditions improved in their favor. Unfortunately for Kevin Magnussen, the change meant that his Haas team called him in to switch off full wets.

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But teams were then eyeing the oncoming rain set to hit the track near the midpoint of the race. Logan Sargeant provided an undoing to the oncoming strategy by banging his Williams off the wall and bringing out a safety car caution period on lap 25.

Most of the field swung by pit lane for fresh intermediate tires, but Norris suffered by not being able to pit on the first lap. The safety car was announced and he then fell to fourth from first, handing Verstappen the lead.

Verstappen took the lead on the restart and looked to be in complete command, pushing to a gap of almost five seconds over Russell by lap 47. Norris, however, had stayed out while others pitted and held nearly a pit-stop’s advantage. He came out in front of Verstappen but could not push well enough on the new tires and watched Verstappen swoosh past and move out to a four-second gap.

By lap 50, Verstappen sped into an almost five-second lead, with Russell moving into second after a Norris error. Norris took it back two laps later when Russell bounced a little too much off the curbs.

On lap 53, Sergio Perez retired his car after redesigning the rear wing with the help of the circuit’s walls, spinning when touching the wet surface. His unfortunate showing coming after re-signing with Red Bull for two more years.

On the next lap, Carlos Sainz passed Alexander Albon to move into the points and then spun in nearly the same spot as Perez, then popped Albon, sending the Williams driver into the wall and bringing out a second safety car. Both drivers added their names to the DNF list.

Verstappen, Norris, and Piastri stayed out during the safety car while Russell and Hamilton pitted, moving into fourth and fifth, respectively. Alonso, Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda, Ocon, and Ricciardo filled out the rest of the top 10 as the safety car reset ended on lap 59.

Soon after the restart, Verstappen tore into a decisive lead, holding over a two-second lead on Norris and safely ahead of Norris gaining DRS advantage. Hamilton moved into fourth after passing Russell when Russell and Piastri tangled and then into third after passing Piastri. Russell then moved past Piastri into fourth and looked to challenge Hamilton, his medium tires providing a benefit to Hamilton’s hard.

Verstappen moved into a three-second lead over Norris, even as Tsunoda put together a spectacular sliding effort that nearly brought out a safety car but merely dropped the Japanese driver from eighth to 14th.

Russell moved past Hamilton while Verstappen continued to add to his margin, enjoying a smooth drive to the finish and grabbing his sixth win of the year.

2024 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix Results

Next up on the calendar is the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Coverage from the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya will kick off on Sunday, June 23, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.

About the author

Ava Lader headshot photo

As a writer and editor, Ava anchors the Formula 1 coverage for the site, while working through many of its biggest columns. Ava earned a Masters in Sports Studies at UGA and a PhD in American Studies from UH-Mānoa. Her dissertation Chased Women, NASCAR Dads, and Southern Inhospitality: How NASCAR Exports The South is in the process of becoming a book.

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