Canadian F1 GP: Max Verstappen resists final pressure and wins

It was a Canadian GP with a lot of tire management and a lot of strategy. The green track, not very rubbery due to the rains which washed away the asphalt, gave headaches with the degradation of the tires as the focal point of this afternoon. Max Verstappen won the race and withstood Carlos Sainz’s final attack. Verstappen was always in control, although he sometimes lost his head, Sainz tried everything to put pressure on the Dutchman and a Safety Car caused by Yuki Tsunoda in the last third of the race favored the strategy of the Spanish. However, the arguments to challenge Verstappen were few and the #55 had to settle for second place. Mercedes offered a good race and a place on the podium to Lewis Hamilton, second of the year for the n°44, ahead of George Russell. Charles Leclerc had a rather gray first half of the race, but once fitted with medium tires, he raised the bar and managed to climb up to fifth place. The Alpines scored important points, even if the strategy was somewhat conservative, but both cars had technical problems, so this result is very positive. Alfa Romeo was in the top 10 with good races from both drivers and Lance Stroll managed to finish in the points after starting from 17th place.

the race movie

The sky was clear and the temperature was relatively high, much warmer than yesterday, despite a strong and somewhat intense wind. The stands of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit were filled with people when F1 returned to Canada.

Charles Leclerc started from the penultimate position on the grid, retiring from the pits, being penalized for having changed elements of the power unit. Also Yuki Tsunoda was penalized and that’s why he was bottom of the table. Pierre Gasly had a qualification to forget, but it was motivated by a problem with the front left brake changed during the night. Lando Norris also had to change elements of the power unit, but parts that had already been used were placed and therefore did not lead to penalties. Esteban Ocon also had problems with the car which prevented him from matching Fernando Alonso’s pace.

The trail was very green and the grain issue was a concern. The one-stop strategy seemed to be preferred, but if degradation levels were too high, we could see teams recalibrating the two-stop strategy. Max Verstappen started from pole and, in theory, it would be a peaceful afternoon if the start was good and he managed to escape the pressure of Fernando Alonso in the first corners. Carlos Sainz had to start well to get closer to Verstappen, trying to reverse the trend, after a retirement and a gray weekend in Baku. Lewis Hamilton was in fourth position and was keen to secure a place on the podium and the Haas would try to hang on in the top 6 won in qualifying for as long as possible.

All the drivers opted for medium tyres, except for Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Pérez, Lando Norris, Lance Stroll and Charles Leclerc.

At the start, Verstappen started well and moved away from Fernando Alonso who had to defend from Carlos Sainz, while Lewis Hamilton defended from Kevin Magnussen. Mick Schumacher lost two places to Esteban Ocon and George Russell, falling to eighth place, while Sergio Pérez moved up two places, moving up to 11th. Pierre Gasly also lost two places to the two Aston Martins, falling to 18th and Nicholas Latifi lost two places and fell to last, with Charles Leclerc moving up two places at the start.

On lap 3, Sainz passed Alonso and took second place, shortly after Russell passed Ocon for sixth. On the next lap, Zhou Guanyu overtook Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly encountered a technical problem which was not going to make life easier for the Frenchman.

Verstappen is three seconds behind Sainz, who is unable to get closer to the leader, while Alonso remains glued to his compatriot, with Lewis Hamilton at his side. Russell continued to show good pace and passed Magnussen.

On lap 6, we had already seen Gasly and Sebastian Vettel change tires for the harder ones and Magnussen saw the black and orange flag go into the box to change the front wing damaged during the fight with Hamilton.

The afternoon was complicated for Red Bull on lap 8, as Pérez was forced to stop the car due to problems in his single-seater (apparently with the transmission or gearbox), which caused a car to virtual security. Verstappen took the opportunity to change tires to put on some tough ones, as did Lewis Hamilton. Sainz and Alonso didn’t stop and the Spaniard took the lead on lap ten. The order was therefore Sainz, Alonso, Verstappen, Russell, Ocon, Hamilton, Schumacher, Zhou, Ricciardo and Albon. Leclerc was 13th and stuck behind Lando Norris.

Hamilton passed Ocon and moved up to fifth, while Alonso kept an eye on what the #44 was doing. Verstappen approached Alonso and threatened the Spaniard’s place. On lap 15, Verstappen sent the No. 14 Alpine and the Dutchman now started behind Sainz.

Valtteri Bottas attacked Alex Albon, but the Thai did not make it easy for the Alfa Romeo driver, defending tenth place. But on lap 18, Bottas and Leclerc passed the Williams driver, who was stopped soon after. Zhou continued to have a good race and moved up to seventh place, at the same time as Schumacher appeared stopped on the track with problems with his car, motivating the second VSC of the day. Russell, Ocon, Zhou and Ricciardo took the opportunity to change tires without wasting too much time. Norris’ stop was a disaster and he wasted a lot of time as Vettel pitted in what could have been the German’s last stop. Carlos Sainz stopped and took the track behind Alonso (still with the medium he started with) and ahead of Hamilton, on lap 21. Leclerc was already eighth, starting from 19th place. In the lead, Verstappen was almost 10 seconds ahead of the rest of the competition.

Sainz easily passed Alonso on lap 22 and returned to second, with the Alpine driver now threatened by Hamilton, who completed the maneuver a few laps later. Alonso was the slowest in the top 5, in a different strategy from Alpine. On lap 29, Alonso stopped to put on the hard tyres, in what could be the only stop of the day for the Spaniard.

In the fight for ninth place, Stroll, who still hadn’t quit, held off Zhou, Tsunoda and Ricciardo, with four candidates for the last places in the points. Leclerc’s recovery did not go as planned and the Ferrari driver was unable to overtake his opponents, Ocon in this case.

On lap 40, the order of the top 10 was Verstappen (managing the race and the tyres), Sainz (increasingly close), Hamilton, Russell (the two Mercedes with different strategies), Ocon (with a fifth place in good track), Leclerc (no pace to overcome), Alonso (preparing a final attack), Bottas (non-stop), Stroll (non-stop) and Zhou.

Leclerc stopped on lap 42 and dropped to 12th on medium tires after a failed pit stop by Ferrari. Leclerc remains in the DRS convoy led by Stroll, which has remained unchanged for many laps.

On lap 43 Verstappen stopped to change tires and dropped to third place. Sainz was back in the lead and Hamilton was second after a good fight out of the pits with Verstappen. But Hamilton didn’t fight for much longer and entered the pits soon after, giving the Dutchman second place. Russell took third, while Leclerc showed more pace with the midfielders starting to overtake the cars, moving up to 10th. Russell stopped on lap 46 and order was restored inside the Mercedes and the podium for Hamilton was in sight.

On the 49th lap, Yuki Tsunoda appeared stopped at the exit of the pits, having taken the lead after the tire change, which brought the Safety Car onto the track. Carlos Sainz went to the pits and put on new hard tires and was close to Verstappen. Ocon and Alonso went to the pits to put on medium tires and the fight for the top 5 was also open.

The order was Verstappen, Sainz, Hamilton, Russell, Ocon, Alonso, Leclerc, Bottas, Vettel and Zhou. On the restart, Verstappen manages to avoid pressure from Sainz and Hamilton closes in on the Spaniard’s Ferrari. Verstappen managed to almost take a second advantage over Sainz. Sainz pressed with Verstappen and tried to get closer to Red Bull, for the attack with DRS. The Spaniard had newer tires and had arguments to go for his first victory.

On lap 57, Sainz launched the attack on the #1 Red Bull and Verstappen looked vulnerable. A little further on, Leclerc passed Alonso (possibly problems with the power unit) and tried to minimize the damage of this weekend. Sainz tried everything to get close to Verstappen, but he never had enough traction to get close to Verstappen who took his sixth win of the year. A great performance from Verstappen and another important step in the title accounts. Carlos Sainz was second and had no argument for Verstappen and Hamilton received a morale boost with his return to the podium. Russell got a good fourth, Leclerc in fifth got what was expected with a big comeback with middleweight, Ocon and Alonso got good points, Bottas and Zhou put in good performances and Stroll made a great comeback .

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