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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 09, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Canadian Grand Prix: Verstappen works hard for 60th F1 victory

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 09, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen won the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix today, an action-packed race of attrition to make it 60 Formula 1 victories for the Red Bull driver but probably one he had to work the hardest to achieve.

Two Safety Cars, with pole winner George Russell leading at one point, as did McLaren’s Lando Norris. Both were potential winners all race long. But when it mattered Verstappen kept his cool, put in the hot laps as required to again deliver.

In retrospect it is fair to say, the race was won by Verstappen after the second restart caused when Alex Albon’s Williams was slammed into by Carlos Sainz’s spinning Ferrari.

That meant a second Safety Car, the field released with a dozen laps to go upon which Verstappen put the hammer down as only he is capable of doing. Edging a 1,8s lead in that first restart lap – one of his best ever – sealed the deal as Norris had no answer to the Dutchman after that and had to settle for a worthy P2.

Russell or Norris might’ve won except for the Max factor

The fact is Norris and Russell kept the triple F1 World Champion under pressure all race long. With Russell setting the early pace, after which Norris took the lead and opened a ten-second gap before Logan Sargeant (yet again) pranged his Williams to trigger the first Safety Car.

While most pitted, Norris stayed out a lap too long and lost the lead because of that. But full credit to him on a day he shone yet again. Ditto Piastri who was in his McLaren teammate’s slipstream for most of the race. But late on, he lost pace and with it places to Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

Russell, who also might have won, had to fight hard to claim P3 after leading the early stages of the race he chased Verstappen hard all afternoon. A late stop for Mediums, which saw him overtake teammate Hamilton on the penultimate lap of the race, was priceless.

Verstappen: The Safety Car worked out nicely for us

In the end, Verstappen emerged victor on a day when half a dozen drivers might have had a chance. The kind of race that racing drivers enjoy winning and no surprise if it goes down as his most memorable.

Reflecting after his third Canadian GP victory in a row, Verstappen said in parc ferme: “It was a pretty crazy race, a lot of things were happening. We had to be on top of our calls. As a team, we did well today. We remained calm, pitted at the right time.

“The Safety Car worked out nicely for us but even after that, we were managing the gaps quite well. I love it. That was a lot of fun. This kind of race, you need those once in a while,” added Verstappen who increased his 2024 F1 World Championship lead to 56 points.

Norris was chuffed with his performance as were F1 fans who voted him Driver of the Day for his efforts in Canada today. He said afterwards: “It was chaos. It was eventful. To be honest, I felt like I drove a good race the whole time from start to finish. The first two stints were very strong.

Norris: It’s nice to be so close once again

“I had amazing pace. But then the Safety Car had me over, just like it helped me in Miami, it’s now had me back over. Honestly, I thought it was a pretty perfect race from my side. Just a bit unlucky, but that’s what it is. But it was good fun. These conditions are so stressful inside the car, but very enjoyable at the same time.

“Fair play to Max. He drove a good race, no mistakes. It was good fun. I’m happy with second. Good points for the team, so a good weekend for us. We’re close. It’s nice to be so close once again and on the podium, so we’ll keep fighting,” declared the McLaren driver.

Russell made a couple of mistakes that may have cost him victory and he knew it. But was a tad harsh on himself when he declared on the radio: “Ugly race on my behalf. Sorry for that. I’m very sorry for that.”

After scoring his team’s first podium of the season there was no need for the apology as Russell had the better of Hamilton throughout the weekend, in Qualifying taking the pole and then snatching a podium from his illustrious teammate with a grand overtake.

Russell: To be in the mix fighting for victory was really fun

In the Montreal parc ferme after the race, Russell lamented: “It felt like a missed opportunity. We were really quick on the inters at the beginning, then Lando came through. Then we jumped back on the slicks. I made a couple of mistakes out there, pushing the limits and paid the price for it.

“Nevertheless, first podium of the year. We truly had a fast car this weekend and to be in the mix fighting for victory was really fun. That’s what F1 is about and that’s why we go racing,” ventured the Briton on the occasion of his 12th podium.

Hamilton had to settle for P4 on a weekend he seemed more inspired than ever in a Mercedes that appears to have made a significant step up in performance. Barcelona next will reveal if this indeed is the case. Whatever happens, it was good to see the Silver Arrows back at the sharp end on a Sunday. F1 needs them at the front too.

Piastri again did his shares the world of good with a mature performance, keeping Norris honest for most of the race. But he ran out of defences late in the race, losing a spot on the podium to the rampant Mercs. Nevertheless, yet another fine showing by the youngest driver in the field.

Jacques Villeneuve’s wake-up call for Ricciardo worked

The oldest one, Fernando Alonso ran in P5 for much of the race after a smart start won he a position. He and Hamilton had a long duel which the latter finally won in the pits. A double points haul for Aston Martin, with Lance Stroll keeping locals happy with P7.

Harsh criticism by Canada’s only F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve seems to have triggered VCARB driver Daniel Ricciardo who went on to defy his critic to deliver a solid weekend, with an impressive P5 in Qualifying. Although he went backwards, at the start the Aussie hung in to claim P8.

Teammate Yuki Tsunoda was running as high as P6 at one stage, ahead of Ricciardo too but late in the race he lost control in the second chicane and saw points turn into P15.

It was a pretty anonymous afternoon for Alpine but when the spray had settled Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon (who behaved this weekend) crossed the finish line in P9 and P10 respectively. A good day for the bleaguered French team.

Not a good weekend for Ferrari with a double DNF on the day

A double DNF for the Italian team after P1 and P3 in Monaco is a steep crash to reality for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz as their Ferrari SF-24 did not like Montreal at all. Both drivers out in Q2 of Qualifying and then a forgettable race.

Leclerc had a Power Unit issue that cost him half a second on the straights and Nowhereland for the race. In the other Ferrari, Sainz was never in points paying position and then late in the race, spun on his own accord and took out the Williams of Albon as mentioned above.

Not a good weekend for the Reds and plenty of head-scratching at Maranello ahead of Barcelona. Who let the Prancing Horses out?

In contrast, Ferrari-powered Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg stole the show early on. The pair started the race on Pirelli Wet tyres, while the rest of the field lined up on Intermediates. As a result, Magnussen was P4 at one point, from P14 and Hulkenberg up to P7 from P18.

But it only lasted until the Inters switched on and got faster than the wets, upon which both Haas veterans plummeted down to order with The Hulk ending P11 and K-Mag behind him in P12.

A sad weekend for Williams and clear Sargeant must be dropped

Sargeant once again makes a case to be ejected from that seat as soon as possible (aka immediately) before he hurts himself. His self-induced prang brought out the first Safety Car and added to the wreck bill he has amassed for Willaims. And probably cost Norris victory.

Adding insult to injury was Albon being taken out, though no fault of his won, by a wayward Ferrari of Sainz which will do their budget little good.

With Sargeant so obviously out of his depth in F1 since he arrived on the scene last year and simply not improving, that team boss James Vowles persists with him is mind-boggling and one can only hope it does not end in tears,

A final word about Sergio Perez’s seriously bad weekend in Montreal. Comprehensively out qualified by Verstappen in the sister car after Red Bull extended his contract for two more years. His thanks to them was to deliver not only a bad Qualy but also a dismal GP which ended in his second DNF in two races.

2024 Canadian Grand Prix Result & Lap Chart

2024 Canadian Grand Prix Result

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How the Canadian Grand Prix unfolded

Top 10 on the grid for the Canadian Grand Prix RUS-VER-NOR-PIA-RIC-ALO-HAM-TSU-STR-ALB
Whole field in Inters with both Haas drivers on Full Wets as the track is fully wet for the standing start.

Russell gets a good launch as they squirm to Turn 1. The top four remain as they are, Alonso squeezes past Ricciardo as does Hamilton in the first half lap. An untidy first lap with contact and Perez getting on the grass, suffering the consequences of his Q1 exit on Saturday.

Magnussen and Hulkenberg climbing five places on the Wets clearly the better Pirelli option at this point. Both were scything their way through the field. Before lap two ends K-Mag up to P5 charging past Alonso and Hamilton as if they were looking for parking.

Hulkenberg was doing the same in P9 after three laps. At the same time, Magnussen was P4, as fast as Russell in the lead despite overtaking during the lap.

At the front, Russell leads Verstappen by 2.5s, with Norris P3 a further three seconds adrift chased by Magnussen. Hulkenberg all over the back of Hamilton and Alonso not far ahead.

Verstappen goes fastest on lap 6 but the gap remains pegged at 2.5s. Yellow flag as Sargeant does the usual, makes a mistake but he manages to continue. Alonso and Hamilton slugging it out for P6. Nail-biting stuff between the veterans.

Leclerc is informed he is losing half a second per lap on the straight as he toils down in P12. Sains is down in P13, on a very bad day for the Monaco winners.

On Lap 8, Magnussen pits first, but the Haas team mess up his stop as he emerges with Inters.

Lap 10: RUS-VER-NOR-PIA-ALO-HAM-HUL-RIC-STR-LEC

Verstappen in DRS range of Russell at this point. Norris 8.3s adrift in P3, with Piastri a further 6.0s down. Hulkenberg slowed with a train forming behind him wanting his P7. Ricciardo getting past the Haas first before it wnt into freefall.

Bright sun shines through on Lap 13 as a dry line appears, but the track is still wet but not as much as the start when Hulkenberg pits for Inters on lap. Alonso and Hamilton still battling. Verstappen on the gearbox of Russell’s Mercedes, bobbing and weaving as Norris in P3 starts to reel the pair in very fast, pulling Piastri along.

Verstappen relentlessly chases Russell as the pair move all over the place to keep the Inters dry, the track drying very fast on the racing line.

Lap 17, Verstappen makes a mistake into Turn 1 that costs him over a second. Norris now all over the back of the #1 Red Bull within DRS.

Lap 20: RUS-VER-NOR-PIA-ALO-HAM-RIC-STR-LEC-TSU

Russell leads by 1.5 seconds, with Verstappen and Norris in full battle mode for P2 behind him. Piastri holding station. At the end of lap 20, Norris pounces into the final chicane complex to take P2. DRS was his friend.

Early race ‘stars’ Hulkenberg and Magnussen were down in P19 and P13 respectively. It was their ’15-minutes of fame’ for Haas to shine. But it was freefall after that.

At the front, the battle for the lead was intense, with Norris all over the back of Russell. Norris pounced where he took Max, as Russell went off the circuit trying to defend from the McLaren. Verstappen also got past to take P2 but four seconds down on Norris at the front.

From P1 to P3 for Russell, with Piastri now in his mirrors. 15.0s behind them veterans Alonso and Hamilton were still at it for P5. Ricciardo has stabilised in P7 albeit 24.0s behind the two world champs ahead.

On lap 24 the sun disappeared as rain clouds were back and threatening over Ile Notre Dame. Norris was gapping it at the front with a ten-second lead.

Right then Sargeant slammed the wall in sector one, prompting a Safety Car. This triggered a flurry of pit stops by all. Norris has to go a lap longer for his stop, emerging behind Verstappen and Russell. From leading by ten seconds, the McLaren driver was down in P3 thanks to the timing of his stop, just ahead of Piastri.

Hamilton ‘overtook’ Alonso during the pitstops to line-up P5 behind the McLarens. Ferrari pit Leclerc for Hards aka the only one on slicks, just before the SC was set to come in. The skies were dark, plump with water on one side and blue skies on the other.

Top 10: VER-RUS-NOR-PIA-HAM-ALO-TSU-STR-OCO-RIC for restart on Lap 30 with all cars on Inters.

Calm and disciplined restart. But the rain is back. Albon makes a superb overtake to claim P9 from outside the points, taking Ocon and Ricciardo in one move. Brilliant stuff!

Tense formation running at close quarters across the field.  The top three within a second on Lap 35. Norris fastest at this point but only just.

Verstappen still leading, with Russel 1.3s behind in P2 and 1.4s up on Norris and Piastri, the McLarens running nose to tail and Hamilton stalking them. Alonso in P6 a further 6.7s behind the Mercedes.

Stroll in DRS range of Tsunoda, in a battle for P7. Five drivers fighting for P10 led by Ocon who was being chased by Ricciardo, Bottas, Sainz and Gasly.

Lap 30: VER-RUS-NOR-PIA-HAM-ALO-TSU-STR-OCO-RIC, thus no change in the top ten from lap 20.

Verstappen leads by 3.0s over Russell and Norris a further 1.3s behind with Piastri shadowing his teammate but harassed by Hamilton who was quickest on track at this time.

All eyes on Gasly who pits for slicks on Lap 41 as sunshine swathes Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. On Lap 42 Norris makes a mistake and goes wide in the first turns but manages to hang on to P3.

It was now a battle for P2, with Russell under attack from Norris, who himself had Piastri and Hamilton looming large in his mirrors. Ferrari retire Leclerc.

On lap 44, Hamilton pits for slicks. Ricciardo, Sainz and Perez follow. The Mercedes emerges P10. Piastri is next in for Medium slicks, as Gasly’s tyres start to fire-up and become faster than the Inters.

Verstappen and Russell into the pits, Norris does not follow and takes the lead. Verstappen emerges 20.8s behind the McLaren which was popping fastest laps. But the Red Bull tyres were coming to him and getting quicker.

Finally, on Lap 47 Norris pits from the lead with a 21.s as he dipped into the pitlane for his Mediums. He emerges side by side with Max, but Lando slithered for grip but he was P2 as Russell and Piastri hunted him down.

Verstappen leads Norris by 4.1s who with Russell got past Piastri on lap 49. Hamilton in P5 was 6.6s down on the fight ahead.

Lap 50: VER-RUS-NOR-PIA-HAM-ALO-TSU-STR-OCO-ALB

P1 is Verstappen with 3.9s gap to P2 Russell and quicker than the Red Bull. P3 was Norris hanging on to the Mercedes. George hits a kerb, which gave Lando the chance to nip back into P2 with Piastri in the best seats to watch the battle, he with podium ambitions too.

Perez comes out of anonymity of nowhereland all race, to prang his Red Bull, breaking the rear wing in the process to end a dismal weekend for the Mexican. Another DNF.

Chaos ensues on Lap 54 as Albon slams into a spinning Sainz, prompting a Safety Car. The scene was set for an epic dozen-lap shootout. Russell dips into the pits for fresh Medium tyres as does Hamilton, who emerges on Hards. Sunshine predominates but angry clouds loom over Montreal.

Lap 59 restart Top 10: VER-NOR-PIA-RUS-HAM-ALO-TSU-OCO-RIC

Verstappen makes a near-perfect restart gapping a second within the first few corners. Norris chased with Piastri and the rest in tow. By the end of the first lap after the restart, the #1 Red Bull was 1.8s ahead and popping fastest laps.

On lap 62, Russell attacks Piastri into the final turn but the McLaren stayed ahead. He tried again the next lap, but messed up and had to take a short cut losing time and P4 to Hamilton.

The seven-time winner in Montreal was on a charge, Hamilton getting past Piastri on lap 66 and setting his sights on Norris. Finally, Russell also got past Paistri on lap 67.

At the same time, Tsunoda lost P8 when he smacked the barrier in the second chicane. Debris was strewn across the track, but not deemed dangerous. On lap 60, Russell charges past Hamilton to claim P3.

The final decisive ten laps of the three-part Canadian Grand Prix is in the main report above.