Home Sports Formula 1: Max Verstappen wins chaotic Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1: Max Verstappen wins chaotic Canadian Grand Prix

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 9: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on the track during the Canadian F1 Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 9, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen won his sixth Formula 1 race of the 2024 season on Sunday. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix was not your typical Max Verstappen victory.

Verstappen took his sixth victory of the season ahead of Lando Norris after a chaotic race that included a wet track at the start of the race and multiple safety cars.

Verstappen took the lead on lap 49 of the 70-lap race when Norris pitted. Norris stayed on intermediate tires longer than anyone else as the track dried. But when he rejoined the track alongside Verstappen, he didn’t have the grip that Verstappen had on a wet pit exit road.

That allowed Verstappen to get ahead and maintain the lead after the final restart of the race. Verstappen easily pulled away from Norris with 12 laps to go, as Norris remained second ahead of the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. Russell briefly dropped to fifth place in the closing laps of the race after going off the track while racing with Oscar Piastri, but overtook Piastri and Hamilton to take the final podium spot.

Russell started from pole and held the lead over Verstappen and Norris as the track was soaked at the start of the race due to pre-race rain. The Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg started on wet tires while everyone else was on intermediate tires and made their way through the field with their added traction. Magnussen broke into the top five, but was quickly relegated from contention thanks to a slow pit stop after the wet tires became ineffective.

The first safety car of the race came for Logan Sargeant’s crash and all the leaders pitted for intermediate tires even though the track was drying out with more rain on the way. When the track began the drying process again, the McLarens of Norris and Piastri appeared to be the fastest cars.

However, Norris might have been out a lap too long. Hamilton jumped to fifth during the first safety car and was the first driver in the top five to put on slicks. His pit stop made the drivers ahead of him react, as Verstappen, Russell and Piastri entered the pits shortly after.

As the McLaren drivers finished in the top five and Verstappen took the winner’s share of points, Ferrari lost a lot of ground in the constructors’ standings.

Charles Leclerc was the second driver to retire from the race after suffering an engine problem at the start. Ferrari put slick tires on Leclerc’s car during the first safety car, but it was a bad decision. Leclerc had to pit again and then lost a lap before retiring his car.

His teammate Carlos Sainz then caused the second safety car period. Sainz spun and collected Alex Albon on lap 54. The incident forced both Sainz and Albon to retire their cars, and meant that neither Ferrari nor Williams had a car to finish the race.

Ferrari entered the race 24 points behind Red Bull in the constructors’ standings and is now 49 points behind Red Bull after Sergio Perez crashed and failed to score any points for the leaders. McLaren, meanwhile, gained 30 points over Ferrari and is now 38 points behind the Scuderia.

The season could become much more interesting if the pace Mercedes showed in Montreal is a harbinger of things to come.

Hamilton recorded the fastest lap of Saturday’s final practice session and Russell then took pole with a lap on old tires before strong winds ruined both Mercedes drivers’ final runs on new tyres.

On Sunday, both drivers had the speed necessary to keep up with both Verstappen and the McLaren cars. Hamilton was trapped behind Fernando Alonso at the start of the race, but jumped in front of him during a pit stop after Sargeant’s accident.

Once Hamilton passed Alonso, he had plenty of pace to keep the top four within striking distance and even set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap.

Russell’s third place finish is the first podium of the season for the team that was incredibly dominant in the 2010s. If Mercedes has truly figured out its car (and remember, there have been multiple mirages of sustained pace since the start of 2022), then it could very well turn into a four-team fight at the front of the field.

1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2. Lando Norris, McLaren

3. George Russell, Mercedes

4. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

5. Oscar Piastri, McLaren

6. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

7. Lance Ride, Aston Martin

8. Daniel Ricciardo, VCARB

9. Pierre Gasly, alpine

10. Esteban Ocón, Alpino

11. Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

12. Kevin Magnussen, Haas

13. Valtteri Bottas, Sauber

14. Yuki Tsunoda, VCARB

15. Zhou Guanyu, Sauber

Not classified: Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Alex Albon (Williams), Sergio Pérez (Red Bull), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Logan Sargeant (Williams)

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