Verstappen holds off Sainz to extend his lead in Canada

Max Verstappen faced a late challenge from Carlos Sainz to win the Canadian Grand Prix and extend his championship lead.

With Formula One returning to Montreal for the first time in three years, it was Red Bull of Verstappen who took the checkered flag to clear 46 points at the top of the standings.

Sainz was quick in the closing stages after a period behind the safety car, but could not find a way to overtake Verstappen and had to settle for second place, the pair being joined on the podium by Lewis Hamilton – seven-time world champion. took third place for Mercedes. ,

His teammate George Russell continued his record of a top-five finish throughout the season as he finished fourth ahead of Charles Leclerc, who moved up from 19th to claim a good run of points for Ferrari. Recovered.

Alpine were sixth and seventh, with Esteban Ocon managing to overtake Fernando Alonso, while Valtteri Bottas, Guanyue Zhou and local favorite Lance Stroll rounded out the points.

Verstappen veered off the line and into the first corner well ahead of Alonso, who impressed in qualifying to make his first front-row debut in a decade. Hamilton had started an impressive fourth and faced a challenge from Kevin Magnussen’s Haas, with Alonso being passed by Sainz on lap three.

An early virtual safety car for the retirement of Sergio Pérez’s sister Red Bull, with what appears to be an engine problem, pit stops with Verstappen and Hamilton to install new tyres.

A similar situation occurred on lap 19 as Mick Schumacher was forced to retire, this time with VSC allowing Russell to pit as Sainz also closed and Verstappen again took the lead.

Along with Perez, one of Verstappen’s title rivals was cutting his way through the field as Leclerc overcame a 10-place grid penalty after replacing engine parts on Saturday.

However, Monegasque stuck behind Ocon to check on his progress, made a slow pit stop and then forced him back into the pack.

The sold-out crowd on Ile Notre-Dame was considered a rare example of Hamilton and Verstappen’s fight, neck and neck to last year’s title hero as the Dutchman left the pits.

Sainz held out to take the lead and was able to pit under a safety car on lap 49 after Yuki Tsunoda crashed into AlphaTauri, turning right on Verstappen’s gearbox on the restart.

There was no play as the safety car chipped in, but Sainz was keeping Verstappen upright, closing within a second and pushing to overtake in the closing stages.

But, while Leclerc traversed two Alpines to improve his position, Sainz had no answer as Verstappen took the 26th win of his career and his fifth victory in the last six races.

There were doubts about whether Hamilton would even drive in Canada after suffering from a bad back due to the amount of purporting at last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. But a mix of acupuncture and cryotherapy got him ready for the race, and he took his second podium of the season, third.

When asked about his back at the end of the Grand Prix, he replied, “It feels good, I feel young.” It’s been overwhelming to get that third pace, it’s been such a fight as a team this year – I’m so proud and inspired by my team.

“They are a little too fast for us at the moment, I gave my all and we are getting closer and closer. I could finally see (leaders) thanks to the safety car, our pace was pretty good so honestly I’m excited, I didn’t expect it to come over the weekend.