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F1: 2024 Canadian Grand Prix – Chaos in Canada, another victory for Verstappen!

01 VERSTAPPEN Max (nld), Red Bull Racing RB20, action during the Formula 1 AWS Grand Prix du, Canada. , . Formula One World Championship from June 07 to 09, 2024 on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, in Montreal, Canada - Photo DPPI Credit: DPPI Media/Alamy
VERSTAPPEN Max (nld), Red Bull Racing RB20, action during the Formula 1 AWS Grand Prix du, Canada. Formula One World Championship from June 07 to 09, 2024 on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, in Montreal, Canada - Photo DPPI Credit: DPPI Media/Alamy Live News - Licenced to Auto.Racing by | 2XANA57

Max Verstappen won the Canadian Grand Prix for the third year in a row, in his sixth victory of the season and 60th overall in his career.

Qualifying Review: Russell and Max were equally fast but George lead the way

Pole position at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal was taken by George Russell for Mercedes. Recording an identical time to Max Verstappen in the Red Bull, as they both clocked 1 minute 12.000 seconds. Russell was awarded pole as he set the fastest lap first. Third place in qualifying went to Lando Norris in the McLaren.

Max found himself under investigation in Q2, in his desire to start the session as soon as possible due to the sudden onset of rain, he parked his car with the nose facing into the fast lane while other drivers were already in queue. For his he was accused of joining the fast lane without giving way to the cars that first arrived. The accusation was later found to be invalid and dismissed as none of the cars wheels had passed the fast lane indication line.

Rain, an array of incidents and a terrible weekend for Ferrari

The top three in qualifying also made the podium in Sunday’s race, although the order was somewhat rearranged. Max was able to take advantage of the chaos on the track following the first safety car incident caused by Logan Sargeant on lap 25. Norris finished the race in second place while Russell eventually banked himself a good weekend of racing by holding onto third.

In what is not an uncommon occurrence in Canada, we had the opportunity to see everything that an F1 race can bring. Rain and sun alternated, coming with it several expected incidents and some great overtaking action.

The top three drivers took turns throughout the race which encountered two safety car periods. Norris’s luck ran out at the first safety car as in his haste to pull away after taking the lead on Lap 21, he passed the pit entry just before the safety car was announced, finding himself third after his stop. Verstappen then took the lead and controlled the majority of the race to the finish.

“Yeah, it was a pretty crazy race and we had to be on top of our calls. We remained calm, pitted at the right time, and the safety car worked well for us. After that we were managing the gaps. “[McLaren and Mercedes fought us] in different stages as well, so it was a lot of fun out there“, Verstappen said.

The Race In Summary

Russell led the field in the early stages and quickly broke away, but Verstappen slowly closed the gap after the rain stopped and track began drying. The most impressive drive early on was made by Haas drivers, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen who were on rain tires with the rest of the field on inters, but the gamble ultimately failed when both were forced to pit for a set of inters before the track had fully dried. They finished the race 11th and 12th. 

Verstappen closed the gap to Russell by lap 16 before making a mistake at turn one, locking a front wheel and bouncing over the kerbs. This allowed Norris to close the gap to 0.5 seconds, and eventually overtake for second place on lap 21, before also taking the lead from Russell on the same lap. During the overtake, Russel made a mistake allowing Max through. Lap 25 saw an unforced incident by Logan Sargeant, who crashed into the guard rail causing a yellow shortly followed by a safety car.

At the time, Norris had an eight-second advantage over Verstappen, but in his haste passed pit lane just before the safety car announcement, which cost him. By the time Lando reached the pits and returned to the track, he found himself in third place. Following green flag racing, the rain returned, Verstappen used the opportunity to build a four-second lead before the track again started to dry.

With no further rain forecast, drivers began pitting for dry tires, with Max was the first to do it among the leaders, followed by Russell. Norris held out two more laps but didn’t find enough pace to take the lead, however did gain an advantage over Russell to return to the track in second.

On lap 53, Sergio Perez hit the wall severely damaging his rear wing and leaving debris on the circuit. On the same lap, Carlos Sainz Jr. lost control of his Ferrari in a slow spin into the path of Alex Albon’s Williams, forcing both to retire and another safety car period.

It was a bad weekend for Ferrari as Charles Leclerc retired his car earlier in the race. Suffering electrical problems from the start, compounded by an incorrect switch to dry tires at the wrong time, ensured Leclerc’s race was well and truly over before the consideration was made to retire the car.

Russell and Hamilton took advantage of the safety car’s second appearance on the track and went for new slick tires, which paid off. As the race resumed, Verstappen broke away, Norris followed and behind him, his teammate Oscar Piastri. On lap 62, Russell caught Piastri and ran side by side down the back straight towards the final turn, Piastri held on. On Lap 63, again alongside, Russell squeezed Piastri coming into the final chicane, with minor contact occurring and Russell being forced off the track, dropping him to fifth. With Hamilton promoted to fourth with 6 laps remaining.

Hamilton caught and passed Piastri with 5 laps to go, with Russell doing the same one lap later.

On the final lap, a fight ensured between the two Mercedes drivers, with Hamilton unable to hold on as Russell overtook him for a third place finish.

Notable points scorers in Montreal were the Aston Martin duo, Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo was eighth. It was also a dual points finish from Alpine, with Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon taking out ninth and tenth place.

Verstappen now has 194 points in the championship, followed by Charles Leclerc with 138 points. The next F1 race will be held in less than two weeks in Spain at the Catalunya circuit.

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