Canadian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen stops Carlos Sainz to extend championship lead

Canadian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen stops Carlos Sainz to extend championship lead

Canadian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen stops Carlos Sainz to extend championship lead

Max Verstappen
Verstappen’s win was his 26th in F1 – one more than legendary former world champions Jim Clark and Niki Lauda

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen held off a late challenge from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to win the Canadian Grand Prix.

The two started the last 15 laps nose to tail after a late safety car, but despite the heavy pressure from Sainz, Verstappen held on with older tires.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were third and fourth for Mercedes while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc recovered to fifth from the back of the grid.

Verstappen extended his championship lead over Leclerc to 49 points.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez remains in second place despite withdrawing from the race with an engine problem, but is just three points ahead of Leclerc.

Fernando Alonso, who shone in wet qualifying to start on the front row for the first time in 10 years, suffered from a questionable strategy from Alpine and some technical difficulties to finish seventh behind team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Charging Sainz is just too short

Verstappen and Sainz played a cat-and-mouse game during a race that was interrupted by two virtual safety cars alongside the last full safety car.

Red Bull put Verstappen under the first VSC on lap ninth, caused when Perez pulled away, while Sainz stayed away, before the Spaniard stopped under second 11 laps later, caused by Mick Schumacher’s Haas stopping on track.

That set up a race defined by tire offsets, with Sainz closing slowly on Verstappen during their second stints before the Dutchman stopped for the second time on lap 43.

Carlos Sainz in action at the Canadian Grand Prix
Carlos Sainz took the podium for the fifth time in 2022

Sainz then took advantage of the final safety car, caused by Yuki Tsunoda who crashed his Alpha Tauri as he exited the pits.

The Ferrari driver had a six-lap tire advantage over Verstappen for the final shootout, but he couldn’t get close enough to the Red Bull to launch an attack, despite hitting the entire last 15 laps in under a second. follow the.

Verstappen held on to his fifth win in six races, Red Bull’s sixth in a row and his own sixth win in nine races this season to further consolidate an increasingly convincing championship advantage.

Alonso’s strong weekend fades to P7 finish

Alonso had talked about challenging Verstappen for the first lap lead after qualifying, but the Red Bull got off to a strong start and the experienced Spaniard had to settle for second.

Sainz soon passed the Alpine, which then seemed to make a mistake during the two virtual safety cars.

Alonso didn’t stop under either, while both Mercedes drivers did – Hamilton under first and Russell under second.

This jumped ahead for Alonso and the 40-year-old also lost to teammate Ocon when the Frenchman retired with Russell under the second VSC.

The decisions landed Alonso in no man’s land and had to stop under race conditions a few laps later, which also left him behind Leclerc.

That meant Alonso was sixth behind Ocon and ahead of Leclerc for the final run to the flag.

Leclerc passed both to finish fifth and do a lot of damage in the championship, although there are questions as to whether Ferrari made any strategy mistakes – which a slow pit stop didn’t help – as simulations suggested he should have been able to drive the Mercedes as well. .

Although Alonso had a stronger pace than Ocon, he couldn’t pass.

Struggling with an engine problem, Alonso asked the team if they wanted to switch positions, claiming he was “100 times faster” than Ocon over the weekend.

He did indeed retain his significant speed advantage, but the team chose not to accede to his request and Ocon finished ahead of Alonso, with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu eighth and ninth ahead of Alfa Romeo, and Lance Stroll taking the final point in 10th.

What’s next?

A two-week break before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where Ferrari really needs to stop Red Bull’s momentum and make the track a better fit for Mercedes.

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