MONTREAL ( Associated Press) – Max Verstappen consolidated his lead in the Formula One championship as he faced pressure from Carlos Sainz Jr. in the closing gap to secure his sixth win of the season.
Verstappen happily dominated after starting from pole at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The reigning world champion extended his lead in the general classification to 46 points from his Red Bull teammate over Mexican Sergio Pérez, who had to retire early due to a gearbox problem.
Regarding his advantage in the points, Verstappen said: “There is a lot ahead and I understand that the gap is wide, but I am also clear that everything can change quickly.” He recalled that he was 46 points behind Charles Leclerc after the third race. of the weather
The Dutchman was not afraid to distance himself from Fernando Alonso, who started from the front line for the first time in a decade.
Alonso joked that he would attack Verstappen at the first corner to steal the win, but such an attack never happened. By the time Sainz passed Alonso on lap two, Verstappen had a 2.4-second lead at the wheel of his Red Bull. Sainz narrowed the gap in the final 10 laps and sweated the Dutchman, but the Ferrari driver faded on the final lap, falling .993 seconds behind.
“It was quite an entertaining race, it’s always more enjoyable when you’re in a speed duel than the tyres,” said Verstappen, adding that Sainz didn’t have room to overtake him, “but he was close. ”
Sainz said Sunday was the best he could have got in second place.
“When I pushed harder, I was risking everything,” Sainz said. “I can tell you I was pushing. I left it all. For the next race.
Mercedes made remarkable improvement after a season of many difficulties, including a terrible day of testing on Friday. Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton secured his first podium finish since his first race of the year in March. George Russell finished fourth with the other Mercedes.
“It’s good to feel part of the fight and in the end I was fighting with him. That gives me hope, the team too,” said Hamilton. “Chances are, if we can make it all work and I think it’s going to be the hardest thing this year.”
Hamilton was praised after crossing the finish line and said he did not feel pain in his back, a rebound effect he suffered throughout the season.
“It’s good to feel young again,” said the 37-year-old Briton. But he cautioned that “we still have a rebound, but the difference was total.”
“Checo” Perez left the race after just nine laps due to a gearbox failure. It was the fourth mechanical failure for Red Bull this season.
“Everything went wrong over the weekend,” Perez said. “Reliability issues hurt and getting clean hurts a lot.”
Meanwhile, Verstappen has won six of the first nine races in his title defense.
It was Verstappen’s best result in Montreal. F1 reported that the Canadian circuit set a record by drawing 338,000 spectators over three days of the weekend, returning to Canada after a two-year absence due to the pandemic.
Leclerc managed to rebound after initially receiving a 10-position penalty for an engine change in his Ferrari. He finished fifth after starting 19th.
Esteban Ocon finished sixth in his Alpine. Alonso, his teammate, who had said he would be happy with fifth place, finished seventh but was fined five seconds for a maneuver on the last lap.
The penalty left Alonso in ninth place, while Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) dropped to seventh. Bottas was followed by teammate Zhou Guanyue, who, thanks to Alonso’s penalty, moved up to eighth place and scored for the second time this season. Canadian Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) was tenth.
The next race will be the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 3 July.