Max Verstappen wins wet and chaotic Canadian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen wins wet and chaotic Canadian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen secured a hard-fought victory at the Formula 1 2024 Canadian Grand Prix as the rain caused chaos in Montreal on Sunday.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen survived changeable conditions, several restarts and a tight challenge from rivals to emerge victorious in Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion was joined on the podium by Lando Norris – who led the race at one stage by 20 seconds – and George Russell after passing Lewis Hamilton to deny him a podium. It wasn’t the race victory he wanted, but the 26-year-old made amends for his clash with Oscar Piastri, who finished fifth.

Red Bull also stretched out their lead by 25 points in both championships after a double retirement for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, compounding a miserable weekend for Ferrari.

While the predicted rain for qualifying on Saturday held off, for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, it most certainly did not.

The intermediate tyres were the order of the day for a wet start in Montréal for most of the grid, with only the Haas pair using full wet tyres – with rain having come down leading up to the race and a fresh shower being forecast for the early laps.

But crucially, it was a clean start for the drivers as they edged away from the line – Russell keeping his lead from Verstappen into Turn 1, with Norris and Piastri following.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton leapfrogged Daniel Ricciardo in the opening corners, but the gamble of the full wet tyre paid off in particular for Kevin Magnussen, who flew up nine places on the two laps – getting up from P14 to P6 as he overtook Hamilton himself, before getting past Alonso into the Turn 13/14 chicane on lap 2.

Magnussen would then clear Oscar Piastri on Lap 4 to split the McLaren pairing, while Haas team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was also making progress as he was eighth. However, the next lap saw the top three cars lap quicker than Magnussen as the sun emerged from out behind the dark clouds and the crossover period edged closer.

Alonso cut across the final chicane and presented Hamilton with the chance to pass, but the Aston Martin squeezed his rival towards the wall and retained the place. Hamilton missed the first turn but returned to the track without losing a place to Hulkenberg’s Haas, while Leclerc was told he was losing 0.5s due to an engine issue.

The best fight was at the front as Verstappen closed up to Russell at the front, but an error from the Dutchman saw him overtaken by Norris, who then leapfrogged Russell for the lead and stretched out a big eight-second gap.

But the race was turned on its head when Logan Sargeant clipped the wall at Turn 4 and stalled his engine, leaving him stranded in the middle of the track. Norris decided to stay out while Verstappen, Russell and Piastri pitted, and the Briton paid the price for pitting a lap later as he came out in P3 behind Verstappen and Russell.

On the safety car restart, Verstappen stayed ahead of Russell to lead the race. And even better for him, Ferrari decided to pit Leclerc for slick tyres. However, the rain fell hard enough to leave the Monegasque some 18 seconds off the pace and he was forced to pit for intermediates again.

Gasly was the first driver to gamble on the hard tyre and the rest of the field followed, with Hamilton’s pitstop for mediums forcing Verstappen, Russell and Piastri to cover him off.

Norris continued on the inters with a 20-second gap, but after pitting for the medium C4 tyre, he was met with puddles and no grip on the it exit, as Verstappen stormed through to retake the lead.

Russell and Norris continued to swap positions after going off line and into the wet, while Hamilton lost valuable seconds just when he was catching the top four. And it looked like Verstappen was on course for another victory as he continued to post fastest laps. But the jeopardy wasn’t over – far from it. Sergio Perez hit the wall on Lap 52 and broke his rear wing, forcing him to limp back to the pits and retire.

On the same lap, Sainz spun and collected an unfortunate Alex Albon, sending the Williams man ended up in the wall. Sainz later retired, meaning Ferrari would leave Canada with nil points. Both Mercedes drivers took the chance to pit again leaving the running order upon the restart on lap 59 of 70 as Verstappen, Norris, Piastri, Russell, Hamilton.

Verstappen bolted clear ahead of the two McLarens, with both Mercedes drivers on fresh tyres behind him as a truly memorable race headed towards its conclusion.

As a result, Russell was bearing down on Piastri for the final podium position and, after holding him off for one lap, he dropped out of DRS range of Norris and that allowed Russell a run into Turn 13.

Russell had most of his car ahead, but not all, and Piastri held his line into the corner, with the two drivers making contact and Russell taking to the escape road, which dropped him behind his own team-mate Hamilton in the process, moving him down to fifth and Hamilton up to fourth.

The following lap, Hamilton had a run of his own at Piastri into Turn 13 and made the move stick, getting clear of the McLaren driver before the braking zone to move into the top three for a chance at the team’s first podium of the season.

It was third time lucky for Russell as he demoted the Australian to fifth at Turn 13, but elsewhere, Yuki Tsunoda turned his RB into something of a lawnmower at Turn 9 by running onto the grass. In attempting to get around the barrier, he came careering back onto the circuit and almost collided with his rivals on track.

After a reminder to “keep it clean”, Russell made a move on his team-mate and dived down the inside at Turn 13 to take third place from Hamilton.

At the front, Verstappen was able to bring his Red Bull home in first place from Norris in a thrilling victory for the reigning World Champion, with Russell and Hamilton in third and fourth – though Russell’s contact with Piastri will be investigated after the race.

2024 F1 Canadian Grand Prix Race Results

1Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing70 laps
2Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+3.879s
3George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team+4.317s
4Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team+4.915s
5Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team+10.199s
6Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco F1 Team+17.510s
7Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco F1 Team+23.625s
8Daniel RicciardoAUSVisa Cash App RB F1 Team+28.672s
9Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team+30.021s
10Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team+30.313s
11Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team+30.824s
12Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team+31.253s
13Valtteri BottasFINStake F1 Team Kick Sauber+40.487s
14Yuki TsunodaJPNVisa Cash App RB F1 Team+52.694s
15Zhou GuanyuCHNStake F1 Team Kick Sauber+ 1 lap
DNFCarlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari56 laps
DNFAlex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing54 laps
DNFSergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing54 laps
DNFCharles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari43 laps
DNFLogan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing23 laps

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