Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) won his first Canadian Grand Prix without incident in Montreal on Sunday, tightening his grip on the Formula 1 World Championship after 9 of the 22 rounds.
†Winning makes it even more special to come here“, continued the driver, who loves the Canadian circuit for his “old school, iconic and unique twists†
A 26th win nothing more logical
He counts now 46 points ahead of his teammate Sergio Pérez, that had to deliver (gearbox), and 49 on Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 5th Sunday. Another contender for the world title, the Monegask had started from the last row due to a fine for switching bikes above the three allowed per season.
The 24-year-old Dutchman’s 26th F1 victory makes sense. On Friday and Saturday he was fastest in practice and then in qualifying, taking 15th pole position of his career.
At the start in front of full stands (380,000 in total, from Friday to Sunday), Verstappen easily thwarted the plans of Spaniard Fernando Alonso (Alpine). The two-time world champion (2005, 2006) failed, as he had promised, to overtake the pole man in the first corner.
The perennial 40-year-old Hispanic, who started in the front row for the first time in ten years, finished 7th, just behind his French teammate Esteban Ocon. Penalized for a defense deemed too aggressive on Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), however, he was relegated to 9th place.
Ninth in the world, Ocon still overtakes his compatriot Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 11th, who finished only 14th in the GP.
Reliability found for Ferrari?
The other Spaniard, Carlos Sainz, 27, could not do anything against the Dutchman. Leclerc offside, Ferrari counted on him. But the hour of his first success in F1 is still ahead.
Nothing was possible against Verstappen. If he left the lead to Sainz twice for a few laps, it was only because of the game of delayed pit stops.
The release of a safety car on lap 50 of 70 (Yuki Tsunoda’s exit from the track) gave Sainz the chance to finally attack, but his efforts were not rewarded. Author of the fastest lap on the track, Sainz was aware that he “the fastest car” but “it takes more to overtake a Red Bull“, he underlined, considering having”all given and all risked†
From the back of the grid, Leclerc gradually came back into the points. Fifth, he brought ten loved ones from Canada. Above all, his engine held up. What to hope for better days for Ferrari, which remained on a double stop on mechanical breakage in Azerbaijan.
In contrast, Red Bull saw reliability problems return. Fortunately for Verstappen, only the other Austrian single-seater, that of Pérez, was hit. For the championship, a newfound stability from Ferrari could avoid a single Verstappen driver.
While the new technical regulations would allow more teams to win, only Ferrari and Red Bull could taste victory in 2022. Finally, especially Red Bull: six for leader Max, one for Lieutenant Perez, two for opponent Leclerc.
Behind George Russell (4th Sunday) and Lewis Hamilton, mounted on his 2nd podium of the year, 4th and 6th remain in the championship. Greedy in recent years with eight consecutive constructors’ titles, Mercedes is content with the crumbs, hoping for a comeback. In Silverstone, with “Sir Lewis” and “Mister George”, in two weeks?