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Max Verstappen now also wins the Canadian Grand Prix after an exciting duel with Carlos Sainz and is already doing great business in the title fight

What preceded…

The Canadian Grand Prix was back on the Formula 1 calendar after a two-year absence due to the corona pandemic. The city of Montréal celebrated, throughout the weekend countless fans descended on the Île Notre-Dame to watch the drivers at work on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The lucky ones with a ticket were already served their needs on Saturday. They had to brave a day of rain for it, but in return they got a smashing qualifying session.

Max Verstappen dominated on the wet track and took pole position ahead of the surprising Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari). With Sergio Pérez in thirteenth place (after an error in qualifying) and Charles Leclerc in penultimate place (due to grid penalties for changing engine parts), the Canadian Grand Prix promised fireworks.

How did the start go?

Fernando Alonso had promised to fight for first place at the start, but it never came to that. Max Verstappen kept his lead without any problems ahead of Alonso and his compatriot Sainz. Just behind the top three there was an incident between Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen: the latter tried to squeeze next to the Mercedes, but damaged his nose. Magnussen was forced to get a new front wing a few laps later.

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How did the victory come about?

As expected, Verstappen pulled a gap to the rest in the opening laps while Sainz took over second from Alonso. But it was not all roses and moons at Red Bull: Sergio Pérez retired after just eight laps with a mechanical problem, thus providing a virtual safety car. An important moment in the race, because who would bet on an early tire change?

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In the leading group, two riders decided to take a chance: leader Verstappen and number four Hamilton. Sainz thus took over the lead. On lap twenty, another VSC came when Mick Schumacher came to a halt: Sainz decided to make a pit stop at the last minute, putting Verstappen back in the lead. Alonso was unable to get in in time to take advantage and continued on his old tires.

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After all the pit stops, Verstappen was in the lead, but Sainz little by little started to nibble at his 10-second deficit. Verstappen then decided to get new tires himself on lap 42, which put Sainz back in the lead. But Red Bull’s plan would not work as hoped: a few laps later Yuki Tsunoda braked on the exit of the pits, after which he ended up in the tire stacks. safety car.

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Verstappen narrowly regained the lead, but immediately got Sainz behind him when the latter made his pit stop. They were followed by the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Russell, the two Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Alonso, and Charles Leclerc, who had fought his way to seventh place from the back row – despite a poor pit stop by Ferrari.

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The race resumed with 16 laps to go. While Leclerc outwitted both Alpines and advanced to five, Sainz’s other Ferrari opened the chase for Verstappen. The Spaniard crept within a second of the leader and was allowed to use DRS, but Sainz could never get close enough to launch an attack. Verstappen withstood the pressure and recorded his sixth win of the year, while Sainz again missed his first-ever win.

Behind the two ruffs, Lewis Hamilton was third on the podium. He was followed by Russell, Leclerc and the two Alpines of Ocon and Alonso. The two Alfa Romeos of Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou finished eighth and ninth, home driver Lance Stroll took the last point.

How high was the spectacle value?

It was certainly not the most spectacular Canadian Grand Prix of all time, but the strategies were shaken up to three times by the retirements of Pérez, Schumacher and Tsunoda and the accompanying (virtual) safety cars. That ensured that there was something to do on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve until the end, because Carlos Sainz did not allow Max Verstappen a second of rest in the final phase.

What do we remember from this race?

That Red Bull has already won its sixth race in a row and that Max Verstappen has done another fantastic job in the battle for the world championship. The Dutchman already has 46 points ahead of teammate Pérez and 49 on Leclerc. Who is going to love Verstappen for a second consecutive title? The competition will really have to start the remonte at the next race in Silverstone, in two weeks’ time, if they still want to threaten him.

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