Max Verstappen capitalized on old tyres through a 16-lap dash to the finish to outlast Carlos Sainz Jr. and win the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday, June 19.
The 24-year-old Dutchman, who won last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit, commenced the weekend on a strong note by winning the pole on wet, slick conditions on Saturday. During the main event and on dry, sunny conditions on Sunday, Verstappen, who endured the event through a two-stop strategy along with a majority of competitors, spent the majority of the event battling Fernando Alonso and Sainz for the lead. He was leading by Lap 49 of 70 and appeared to have the event under his control when a Safety Car was deployed on the track due to Yuki Tsunoda wrecking in Turn 2. Despite having the field stacked up behind him for a 16-lap shootout, Verstappen’s Red Bull RB18 managed to fend off repeated attacks from Sainz’s Ferrari F1-75, which had fresher tyres, through the 14-turn circuit to emerge victorious for a second consecutive weekend and by nearly a second over Sainz.
The victory at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was Verstappen’s first in Canada, the sixth of the 2022 Formula One season and the 26th of his career as he extended his lead in the drivers’ championship standings to 46 over teammate Sergio “Checo” Perez, who retired early in the event due to a suspected gearbox issue.
“The Safety Car didn’t help, overall [Ferrari] were very quick,” Verstappen said. “Following is tricky around here but I could see [Sainz] pushing, charging, pushing, charging. The last few laps were very fun…Overall in the race, we seem to struggle a little more for pace compared to [Ferrari], so I think already, with the last [pit] stop I did, if it would’ve gone to the end, it would’ve been a close call, I think, to really fight him, but I was also not entirely happy with the Safety Car because he came out behind me with new tyres. I gave everything I had in those last  laps, which are very enjoyable with an F1 car to go flat out. The gap, I think, never really got bigger than eight-tenths, so it was a tough one. Of course, it’s a good sign [to extend the championship lead], but still a lot of races to go. A lot of things can go wrong, so we just have to keep focused and keep on doing what we’re doing, but [I] always try to look where we can improve.”
Sainz, coming off his early retirement in Azerbaijan due to a mechanical issue that also affected his teammate Charles Leclerc, settled in the runner-up spot for the fifth time in his career, which marked his fifth podium result of the season and his 11th podium result overall as he continues his pursuit for his first F1 victory.
“I was pushing flat out, I wasn’t leaving any inch to the walls under braking,” Sainz, who started third and earned a bonus point for setting the fastest lap of the event, said. “I tried everything to pass Max but the positive thing is we were quicker, we were faster in the race. We were very close to winning today so I’ll take the positives…Honestly, all race, I had been quicker than [Verstappen]. For the first time this year, I felt like I was the fastest man on the track at all times, which was encouraging and it does give me confidence, but disappointed not to have gotten that first win because it was very close. I was two-, three-tenths quicker every lap, but around here, if you wanna pass, you really need to have a second six-tenths, which I didn’t have into the Red Bull today. There was no way [for a lunge] because the Red Bull is quick. It’s a quick car and doesn’t have any real weaknesses. I tried everything. I didn’t leave anything. I want my first win as much as everyone does at home, and so, you can imagine I was leaving everything out there…Everything I could, but it was just not enough, but I will keep trying.”
In the midst of the two-car battle for the lead, Sir Lewis Hamilton claimed his second podium result of the season after finishing in third place while trailing the leaders by more than seven seconds. The podium result was the 184th overall for Hamilton and his first since finishing in third place at Bahrain International Circuit in March.
“We’ve had such an awesome crowd, and it’s quite overwhelming to get this third place,” Hamilton, who started fourth, said. “We remain vigilant, never give up and it’s something I’m inspired by. We’re getting closer. I could just about see them [the front runners] at the end! Honestly, I’m ecstatic…Honestly, [this is] one of the best feelings of the year. To be back [on the podium], especially in Montreal where I got my first win 15 years ago. To be back up there, to feel the atmosphere from the crowd was pretty special. And then, just to kind of be in the race, to see the guys ahead and see that there’s potential, feel some of the potential of the car, that’s a real positive for us. Apart from Barcelona, I think this is the best race pace we’ve had…I’m glad I did everything I could to get ahead.”
George Russell extended his top-five steak through the first nine consecutive events in his first season competing for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team by finishing in fourth place while Charles Leclerc, who started at the rear of the field after his Ferrari F1-75 underwent raft of power unit changes, carved his way to a fifth-place result.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, who started on the front row with Verstappen, came home in sixth and seventh followed by Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and rookie Guanyu Zhou. Alonso, however, was given a five-second penalty and demoted from seventh to ninth after he was deemed weaving to fend off Bottas during the penultimate lap. Meanwhile, Lance Stroll claimed the 10th and final points-paying result at his home track, thus recording a single point of the day for the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team.
The first competitor to finish outside of the points was McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo followed by Sebastian Vettel, Alexander Albon, Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris, who endured an early slow pit stop from his pit crew. Nicholas Latifi, the second Canadian competitor in the event, settled in 16th followed by Kevin Magnussen, who qualified in fifth place but pitted early following an early battle with Hamilton that damaged his wing and was given the black-and-orange flat to pit, which he never recovered for points.
Yuki Tsunoda, who started at the rear of the field due to an engine change to his AT03 and had methodically worked his way towards the top-10 points-paying results, ended up in 18th place after wrecking against the barriers in Turn 2 on Lap 49. Prior to his incident, he had just exited pit road with cold hard tyres and was carrying too much speed entering the corner when he went dead straight into the barriers.
Mick Schumacher, who qualified in sixth place and was aiming for his first points result this season, retired in 19th place after he parked his Haas VF-22 in Turn 9 on Lap 20 due to a mechanical issue.
Sergio “Checo” Perez was the first retiree of the event in 20th place after he pulled his Red Bull RB18 off the course in Turn 8 due to a suspected gearbox issue, an issue that spoiled Perez’s three-race result on the podium, including the Monaco Grand Prix victory.
1. Max Verstappen, 25 points
2. Carlos Sainz, 19 points
3. Lewis Hamilton, 15 points
4. George Russell, 12 points
5. Charles Leclerc, 10 points
6. Esteban Ocon, eight points
7. Valtteri Bottas, six points
8. Guanyu Zhou, four points
9. Fernando Alonso, two points
10. Lance Stroll, one point
11. Daniel Ricciardo
12. Sebastian Vettel
13. Alexander Albon
14. Pierre Gasly
15. Lando Norris
16. Nicholas Latifi
17. Kevin Magnussen
18. Yuki Tsunoda – Retired
19. Mick Schumacher – Retired
20. Sergio Perez – Retired
With his victory in Canada, Max Verstappen continues to lead the drivers’ standings by 46 points over teammates Sergio Perez, 49 over Charles Leclerc, 64 over George Russell, 73 over Carlos Sainz and 98 over Lewis Hamilton.
In addition, Red Bull Racing RBPT continues to lead the constructors’ standings by 76 points over Ferrari, 116 over Mercedes, 239 over McLaren Mercedes, 247 over Alpine Renault and 253 over Alfa Romeo Ferrari.
Next on the 2022 Formula One schedule is Silverstone Circuit for the British Grand Prix, which will occur on July 3.