F1: Canada, the beautiful province of Verstappen

He will now remember Quebec as a victorious province: Verstappen had never won in Montreal. It must be said that F1 had not visited Canada since 2019, due to the pandemic, thus missing the first Dutch title in 2021.

Now well launched on the road to his second coronation, Verstappen continues to accelerate. Winner of his sixth Grand Prix out of nine this season, “madmax” was ahead of Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) on the podium.

I’ve always liked coming to Montreal but never really seeing a competitive car, always a bit slow on the straights. This year we are competitive, so I knew I had a first chance to fight to win here.“, explained Verstappen.

Winning makes coming here even more special“, continued the driver, who loves the Canadian circuit for his “old school, iconic and unique turns“.

He now has a 46-point lead over his teammate Sergio Pérez, who had to retire (gearbox), and 49 over Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 5th on Sunday. Another declared candidate for the world title, the Monegasque had started from the last row due to a penalty for changing engines beyond the three authorized per season.

The 24-year-old Dutchman’s 26th F1 victory makes sense. On Friday and Saturday, he was the fastest in practice and then in qualifying, taking the 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 the Spaniard Fernando Alonso (Alpine). The double world champion (2005, 2006) failed, as he had promised, to overtake the poleman at the first corner.

The eternal 40-year-old Iberian, who started on the front row for the first time in ten years, finished 7th, just behind his French teammate Esteban Ocon.

Ninth in the world, Ocon still overtakes his compatriot Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 11th, who only finished the GP 14th.

– Reliability found for Ferrari? –

The other 27-year-old Spaniard, Carlos Sainz, could not do anything against the Dutchman either. Leclerc offside, Ferrari was counting on him. But the hour of his first success in F1 will still wait.

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 exit of a safety car on lap 50 out of 70 (Yuki Tsunoda’s exit from the track) gave Sainz the opportunity to finally attack, but his attempts were not rewarded.

Author of the fastest lap on the track, Sainz was aware of having “the fastest car” but “it takes more to overtake a Red Bull“, he underlined, considering to have”all given and all risked“.

From the back of the grid, Leclerc gradually got back into the points. Finally 5th, he brought back ten precious ones from Canada. Above all, its engine held up. What to hope for better days for Ferrari, which remained on a double abandonment on mechanical breakage in Azerbaijan.

Conversely, Red Bull has seen reliability problems return. Fortunately for Verstappen, only the other Austrian single-seater, that of Pérez, was affected.

For the championship, a newfound stability of Ferrari could avoid a single rider of Verstappen.

While the new technical regulations were to allow more teams to win, only Ferrari and Red Bull tasted victory in 2022. Finally, especially Red Bull: six for leader Max, one for lieutenant Pérez, two for the opponent Leclerc.

Behind, George Russell (4th Sunday) and Lewis Hamilton, mounted on his 2nd podium of the year, remain 4th and 6th in the championship. Greedy in recent years with eight consecutive constructors’ titles, Mercedes is content with the crumbs, hoping for a comeback. At Silverstone, at “Sir Lewis” and “Mister George“, in two weeks ?

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