Verstappen fends off Sainz to taken maiden Canadian Grand Prix win

Verstappen fends off Sainz to take maiden Canadian Grand Prix win

June 20, 2022

Red Bull made it six wins out of six as Max Verstappen took yet another win at the Canadian Grand Prix. The Dutchman, who took his maiden pole in Canada, held off Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who finished second ahead of Mercedes Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton’s teammate George Russell continued his run of finishing in the top five every single race of the race as he came fourth, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who recovered to fifth from the back of the grid, having been hit by an engine penalty. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon finished sixth ahead of the Alfa Romeo pair of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu. Fernando Alonso, who secured his first-ever front-row start since 2012, dropped down to ninth, while homeboy Lance Stroll rounded up the points places at tenth for Aston Martin.

With Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez having retired due to a mechanical issue, Verstappen now has a 46-point lead in the Drivers’ Standings, while, even though both the Ferrari drivers managed a good haul of points, Red Bull lead the Constructors’ Standings by 76 points, while Mercedes are a further 40 points behind. 

Verstappen started strongly off the line, making sure the wily old veteran Fernando Alonso didn’t get an advantage at the start. Alonso, meanwhile, was pressured by compatriot Sainz, who also had a strong start and was past Alonso by Lap 3. Behind them, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen started strongly and tried to pass Hamilton, but the Brit managed to hold on and both of them touched, which resulted in Magnussen suffering front wing damage. Further down the grid, Leclerc, who was right at the back of the grid, had already made up three places in the opening couple of laps.

Magnussen was the first to pit on Lap 6 to fix his front wing, while Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly both also pitted early, switching to the hard compound tyre. While one Red Bull was beginning to pull away from the pack ahead in the form of Verstappen, his teammate Sergio Pérez, who was having a tough weekend following a Q2 exit in qualifying, retired on Lap 8 due to a mechanical issue. Pérez’s retirement brought out the virtual safety car, which saw Verstappen dive into the pits for a quick pit-stop, with Sainz taking over the lead of the race. 

Hamilton, who also came in for a pit-stop under the virtual safety car, was back up to P5, sweeping past Esteban Ocon on Lap 11. Verstappen, meanwhile, who emerged in third place behind Alonso following his pit-stop, didn’t take too long either to put the veteran Spaniard behind him, and by Lap 14, Verstappen had seen off Alonso and was just five seconds behind Sainz.

Lap 20 saw another retirement, as Haas’ Mick Schumacher retired after his car lost power, and with another virtual safety car being deployed, it was the race leader Carlos Sainz who pitted. This allowed Verstappen to regain the lead of the race. 

By Lap 26, Verstappen was flying out in the front and had already built up a 10-second gap to Sainz. Leclerc, meanwhile, who was making his way through the field and had risen all the way up to P6, came in for his pit-stop on Lap 42, but a slow stop from the Ferrari crew saw the Monégasque rejoin in P12.

Verstappen entered the pits for a second time on Lap 44 and, much to his annoyance, rejoined in third place, with Hamilton holding on to P2 behind Sainz. Hamilton himself got his second pit-stop done on Lap 46 and was soon followed by his teammate Russell.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, who came into the pits on Lap 49, couldn’t warm up his tyres and crashed out of the race on Lap 50. Tsunoda’s retirement brought out the safety car and it was Sainz this time who benefited from it and came in for a cheap pit-stop, coming out on new tyres behind Verstappen without dropping a place and ready to attack him.

Racing got underway on Lap 55 and Sainz was straight on the back of Verstappen, pushing the reigning World Champion every second. For the next few laps, Sainz threw everything at him, but the Dutchman somehow managed to hold off the charging Ferrari, and, despite intense pressure for the final fifteen laps from Sainz, Verstappen drove a clean race to hold him off and took his sixth win of the season. 

For Sainz, the wait for a maiden win continues for a bit longer, but the Spaniard is knocking on the door and a win doesn’t look too far away.

For Ferrari, the Canadian weekend will be one they will be proud of, given that Leclerc had an engine penalty and the Red Bull of Pérez retired; the Italian team will be more than happy to head home with a good haul of points. Even though they would’ve liked a Sainz victory, the second-place and fifth-place finishes will be something that will help them as they try to cut down that gap to Red Bull.

A fourth retirement of the season for Red Bull will only give the Austrian team more headache, and even though they have built a strong lead in both the Championships, they have seen Ferrari’s strong lead switch hands in a matter of a few races.

Racing resumes in two weeks’ time at Silverstone, and it will be something that Mercedes will be looking forward to, as they’ll finally be able to unleash their car with the upgrades on an orthodox race track. 

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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