Verstappen wins in wet/dry race at Montreal

Championship leader Max Verstappen came through the wet/dry conditions to win the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver retained position over polesitter George Russell during their pitstops for intermediate tyres, following a safety car by Logan Sargeant, and then-leader Lando Norris was compelled to stop a lap later having passed the pit entry when the safety car was called.

“Yeah, it was a pretty crazy race and we had to be on top of our calls,” Verstappen said. “We remained calm, pitted at the right time, and the safety car worked well for us. After that we were managing the gaps.

“[McLaren and Mercedes fought us] in different stages as well, so it was a lot of fun out there.”

Norris filtered out in third and was forced to stick with the cars ahead, waiting for a drying line to form to reprise his pace from the opening stint that had allowed him to take the lead from Russell.

When the drying line emerged, the leading duo decided to pit together on lap 45, but Norris attempted to extend his time gap by staying out by going two laps longer.

This helped him ahead of Russell and, briefly, Verstappen – but the McLaren driver suffered a snap of oversteer when coming out of the pits to allow Verstappen to take his lead.

The triple champion had to endure a second safety car when Carlos Sainz slipped off track and put Alex Albon into the wall, but he overcame the restart perfectly and never came under threat from Norris thereafter.

Verstappen had not been able to pass Russell at the start, and initially fell beyond two seconds behind the Mercedes driver, but started to catch back up.

But Norris then started to lap much faster than the leading pair, and closed down Verstappen to start his challenge towards the lead as the circuit started to produce a drying line.

The McLaren driver was determined that Verstappen was closing in on DRS range of Russell, and thus took a lap out of cooling his tyres on the wet patches to put a move on the Red Bull along the back straight at the close of lap 20.

He put the same move on Russell at the end of the next lap, and the Mercedes driver subsequently went off at Turn 14 to allow Verstappen to trickle past.

Norris started to forge an impressive lead over the Red Bull driver at a rate of over two seconds per lap but, as he was approaching a 10-second lead, his progress was halted by a safety car as Logan Sargeant dropped his car into the wall on the exit of Turn 5.

The timing of the safety car, unlike Lando’s Miami Grand Prix win, was not in his favour; Verstappen could take a pitstop for fresh intermediates with a threat of further rain emerging, followed by Russell and Oscar Piastri, and Norris had to wait until the following lap to make a stop.

Norris lost out and cycled out in third, behind Verstappen and Russell, and remained locked behind them as the rain began to fall once again, despite staying in touch. Verstappen extended a lead beyond the three-second mark, as the trio waited for the rain to subside.

Once the period of precipitation had ended, it had become clear by the lap 42 that the intermediate-to-dry crossover was emerging as Pierre Gasly was lapping at the leaders’ pace on hard tyres.

Both Verstappen and Russell stopped at the end of lap 45, taking on the medium and hard respectively, but Norris was confident in his pace and was still setting personal bests, and thus took another two laps on the intermediate in a bid to undercut both.

It worked, for a time, and he emerged from the pits on mediums ahead of Verstappen for a handful of seconds – but with minimal grip coming out of the pitlane, his McLaren wagged its tail and allowed Verstappen to pick up the lead.

Russell won out in his late-race battle with Hamilton to secure the team’s first podium of the season, although Hamilton clinched the fastest lap at the end of the race.

The pair cleared Oscar Piastri to ensure they could battle for the final podium place, leaving the McLaren driver to a lonely final few laps as Fernando Alonso was over seven seconds behind in sixth.

Lance Stroll claimed seventh, while Daniel Ricciardo withstood big pressure from the Alpines of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon to finish in eighth – his first finish in the points this season for RB.

So a wild race in Montreal and yet it was inevitable that Max Verstappen comes through to win. The wet/dry conditions made the racing entertaining and it is encouraging that Mercedes have good performance. More competition is good for the sport.

Canadian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:45:47.927
2 Lando Norris McLaren +3.879s
3 George Russell Mercedes +4.317s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +4.915s
5 Oscar Piastri McLaren +10.199s
6 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +17.510s
7 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +23.625s
8 Daniel Ricciardo RB +28.672s
9 Pierre Gasly Alpine +30.021s
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine +30.313s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +30.824s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas +31.253s
13 Valtteri Bottas Sauber +40.487s
14 Yuki Tsunoda RB +52.694s
15 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 69 +1 lap
Carlos Sainz Ferrari DNF
Alexander Albon Williams DNF
Sergio Perez Red Bull DNF
Charles Leclerc Ferrari DNF
Logan Sargeant Williams DNF

5 thoughts to “Verstappen wins in wet/dry race at Montreal”

  1. Max Verstappen and Red Bull bounced back from their Monaco struggles as they returned to winning ways in an action-packed Canadian Grand Prix, overcoming rain showers, multiple Safety Car periods, restarts and a stern challenge from behind to lead home Lando Norris.

    Verstappen followed pole-sitting Mercedes driver George Russell in the wet early stages of the race until a charging Norris overhauled them both in improving conditions, only for an ill-timed Safety Car – brought out when Logan Sargeant crashed – to drop the McLaren man to third.

    Verstappen mastered that restart and further showers to maintain his lead, which he also protected when the track dried up and the field switched from intermediate tyres to slicks, and again following a second Safety Car period triggered by Carlos Sainz and Alex Albon colliding.

    While the reigning world champion ultimately surged towards the chequered flag, Norris took second via a fierce mid-race battle with Russell, and the latter made do with third after some late scrapping with team mate Lewis Hamilton and the other McLaren of Oscar Piastri.

    Russell and Hamilton, who had both pitted for fresh slick tyres under the second Safety Car period, raised heartrates on the Mercedes pit wall when they went wheel-to-wheel on several occasions – the younger Briton making the decisive move for P3 on the penultimate lap.

  2. Lewis Hamilton has conceded he will return to the “drawing board” after a “poor” Canadian Grand Prix performance despite securing his best result of the Formula 1 season.

    The Mercedes driver finished fourth in Montreal having lost out on the final podium position to team-mate and polesitter George Russell, who scythed down the inside at the final chicane in the closing stages.

    Hamilton had started seventh on the grid after struggling to carry his from from practice to qualifying and found himself bottled up behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso for much of the first half of the race, which was held in mixed conditions.

    But after jumping his former team-mate in the pits during the first safety car period, triggered by a crash for Logan Sargeant, Hamilton latched onto the leading pack and following a second neutralisation, he was able to make his way past Russell and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri.

    Russell’s medium tyres proved crucial in the dying moments as he made his way back onto the podium and after securing his first top-five of the season, other than his podium in the Chinese Grand Prix sprint race, Hamilton was asked if he was happier than 24 hours earlier following qualifying.

    “Not really much different,” he said of his feelings when talking to Sky Sports F1.

    “Over the weekend, it was a really poor performance from myself. Yesterday, some other things came into it but [it was] mostly myself and then today, just one of the worst races I have driven, lots of mistakes.

    “But of course, if I had qualified better, I would have been in a much better position. So it is what it is, so I will go back to the drawing board.”

  3. Carlos Sainz labelled Ferrari’s difficult Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix as “very weak, very disappointing” as neither he nor Charles Leclerc finished the race with separate issues.

    The Spaniard spent much of the grand prix struggling with pace and could not crack the top 10, and his chances were further dented when he made contact with Alex Albon at Turn 6 after spinning to put the Williams driver out.

    Sainz felt that he had to “take risks” to make progress in the slick-tyre phase of the race, which he felt was likely responsible for his Turn 6 strife, as he felt the competitiveness swing slightly in his favour as the circuit started to dry.

    “It was one of those races where the pace never clicked. We had some damage in the car from a couple of contacts that we had during that crazy race but there was never really enough pace today to make any overtakes.

    “Only when we went on slicks there towards the end of a race I started to feel there was maybe potential for some points, and I was starting to become a bit quicker.

    “I was just trying to take some risks to overtake people in the DRS trains to try and be close in sector two, probably touched maybe the wet.

    “I don’t know. It’s a very strange way that I lost it there in mid-corner and ended our race. It was a very weak, very disappointing weekend for the whole team because we never seemed to find a good pace.”

  4. Lando Norris asserted that he should have won the Canadian Grand Prix, the McLaren Formula 1 driver feeling his team slipped up not reacting to the first safety car decisively.

    The Briton overtook both Max Verstappen and polesitter George Russell to take the lead of the race, and started to put over two seconds a lap on the pair in a bid to build up his lead.

    His progress was nipped in the bud when the first of two safety cars emerged when Logan Sargeant hit the wall on the exit of Turn 5, where it appeared that he had missed the pit entry before the safety car was called.

    But Norris’ explanation was contrary to this, stating that he had plenty of time to come in for a fresh set of intermediates and stay out ahead of Verstappen and Russell. Instead, he took an extra lap and this put him behind the pair in third.

    “We should have won the race today and we didn’t,” Norris reflected. “So it’s frustrating. We had the pace, probably not in the dry at the end. It turned out that didn’t really matter too much, but we should have won today – simple as that.

    “We didn’t do a good enough job as a team to box when we should have done and not get stuck behind the safety car. So I don’t think it was a luck or unlucky kind of thing.

    “I don’t think it was the same as Miami. This was just making a wrong call. It’s on me and it’s on the team and it’s something we’ll discuss after.

    “I think we’re at a level now where we’re not satisfied with the second. The target is to win and we didn’t do that.”

  5. Max Verstappen hailed his Red Bull team for being on “top of our calls” after his victory in an action-packed Canadian Grand Prix, with the chaotic race requiring crucial strategy calls amid changing weather conditions and two Safety Car periods.

    While pole-sitter George Russell initially led away from Verstappen as the race got under way, Lando Norris went on to slot into P1 before the lead changed hands again when the Safety Car was deployed on Lap 25 after Logan Sargeant hit the barriers in the Williams.

    While the positions switched again following a second pit stop phase, Verstappen ultimately got ahead of Norris and the Dutchman held onto P1 to the chequered flag, despite further incidents including a second Safety Car, this time owing to a collision between Carlos Sainz and Alex Albon.

    Given that his running earlier in the weekend was curtailed following an ERS issue with his car, Verstappen bounced back in style by taking the win and praised his team for staying “calm” during an eventful Grand Prix.

    “It was a pretty crazy race,” the world champion said after jumping out of his RB20. “A lot of things were happening and we 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 I think we were managing the gaps quite well. I love it, that was a lot of fun. Those kinds of races, you need them once in a while.”

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