Formula 1: Max Verstappen’s dominance continues in Canada, Charles Leclerc fourth

Charles Leclerc at the Canada Grand Prix

Max Verstappen’s dominant season continued as the reigning world champion registered his sixth victory of the season at the Canada Grand Prix on Sunday.

Before the mid-point of the season, Verstappen’s lead already looks unassailable. The Dutchman has won six of the eight races so far, whilst his Red Bull team has the clean sweep of having won every Grand Prix thus far in 2023. Verstappen has a 69-point lead over Sergio Perez, and the nearest non-Red Bull competitor is Fernando Alonso, who is a further nine points adrift.

The Spaniard was Verstappen’s closest competition on Sunday, despite being beaten off the line by Lewis Hamilton. The Aston Martin had the better of the Hamilton’s Mercedes around the Montréal circuit though and made the pass on track to regain the second place on the podium, which he never looked like ceding, despite having to manage a brake issue during the second half of the race. Hamilton came home behind Alonso in third to complete the podium.

A weekend of two halves for Ferrari

Charles Leclerc finished fourth, ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz. The result represented progress for Ferrari, who were once more forced to reflect on strategic shortcomings following a disastrous Saturday qualifying.

In changing conditions in Q2, Leclerc wasn’t changed quickly enough onto dry tyres, meaning that he missed the cut. The Monegasque expressed his frustration about the persistent strategic errors, before later issuing an apology.

Leclerc was a portrait of focus and determination on Sunday, and he was pushed up the field thanks to an intelligent strategic call from his Ferrari team. Instead of changing for the hard compound tyres after George Russell’s crash brought out the safety car, both Ferraris stayed out, extending their stint and pitting much later.

Photo source: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

That decision allowed Ferrari to finish fourth and fifth, having started 10th and 11th on the grid. The Italian manufacturer are now 32 points behind third-placed Aston Martin in the constructors championship.

“A bit of a better day today. It’s been a positive Sunday! We should be proud. Now let’s push, let’s try and confirm that next weekend in Austria,” said Leclerc post-race.

On their home track, Red Bull will be the strong favourites and seem poised to extend their incredible winning streak.



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Photo source: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office