Red Bull may have had Checo Perez walking through the bushes over the weekend but they walked out of it with Max Verstappen winning his first Canadian GP and sitting comfortably in the contractor’s standings with a 76-point lead over Ferrari.
A safety car gave us a Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen showdown to close out the Canadian Grand Prix but Ferrari just didn’t have it in them to close out the half-second gap. (Insert Jacqueline’s tears)
But, Carlos Sainz still finished second with Lewis Hamilton finally seeing his way back to the podium and ahead of his teammate.
Plenty of happenings from this weekend in Montreal to dive into. Our staff tuned in and brought you their biggest takeaways.
There was enough overtaking, fighting for position, and tire strategy to make for an interesting race, but none of it made a difference in the battle for the win. Red Bull and Ferrari are evenly matched in speed, but Red Bull has an advantage in strategy, pit execution, and the driver, Max Verstappen. I think Carlos Sainz not being able to take this race from Max was a microcosm of the whole team competition: the gap is too large to close in one season.
Driver of the race
You have to give major credit to Charles Leclerc for driving through almost the entire field after starting at the back due to an engine penalty. He avoided getting caught up in any crashes and managed to pass both defensive Alpine cars. Although the broadcast crew — which I find short-sighted and reactionary — did a lot of hand-wringing over his tire and pit strategy, I think it worked out about as well as possible. Winning was unlikely to be in the cards with his starting position. He finished a respectable P5, right around where his team predicted he would be.
Moment of the race
The moment of the race was the green flag after the final safety car brought the field back together. Everything was all lined up for Sainz to make a run at Verstappen, but it quickly became clear to me that it wasn’t going to be enough. Verstappen is so on his game right now, I think the only thing that could ruin it for him would be mechanical failures.
Hot take/thoughts moving forward:
Ferrari needs to worry just as much about Mercedes as they do about Red Bull, if not more. For all the complaining Team Toto has done about the car, Lewis Hamilton is officially back on the podium with George Russell right behind him. They have put together back-to-back solid races as a team. If Mercedes keep up the current trend, the top six will likely be cars from these three teams every week. That makes little mistakes like long pit stops, which happened with Ferrari again this week, even more costly.
Immediate reaction: Saved By A Late Safety Car
The GP was saved from being a snoozer of a runaway at the end when Yuki Tsunoda was coming out of the pits on lap 49 and lost control while re-entering the circuit. The incident put the race under a full safety car and allowed the field to bunch back up, more specifically it allowed Carlos Sainz to pit for fresh tires and restart the race right behind Max. Sainz prodded at Max’s bumper for the rest of the race but was held in check and finished second.
Driver of the race: Charles Leclerc
Charles was sent to the back with a grid penalty that came with replacing the power unit after last week’s issues. Despite starting 19th in a sport where passing comes at a premium and his team botching another live pitstop, Charles managed to drive his way up to 5th and salvage a decent points day.
Moment of the race: Ferrari Continues to Ferrari
Ferrari’s ability to shoot themselves in the foot in a year where they should be competing for a championship is almost impressive. On lap 42 when Leclerc pitted to replace the hard tires which he had started the race, he had to wait for the left front tire to be changed and it cost him several critical seconds and him behind 3 extra cars on the track.
Thoughts moving forward: Verstappen is Inevitable?
Will we see the mechanical issues that plagued Checo this week find Max at a later date? I’m not sure, but if Ferrari doesn’t figure out how to get out of their own way and get some poor luck for Max he is looking to stroll pretty easily to his second title in a row. I hope for all of us, that we get some drama and the second half of the season doesn’t become a foregone conclusion.
Wasn’t my favorite race but the caution that ended with 15 laps to go made things fun. Honestly, as a Haas fan, I was hoping for rain as they had in the Q1 to even things out but we had beautiful weather instead. Carlos Sainz putting all of the heat on Max for the final 12 laps was a lot of fun. I like the new changes to the cars allowing for actual passing on the track. Pit stop strategy is still a major factor but this year, F1 is fun. Max defending a lead is a work of art. He was much faster than everyone in qualifying and never slowed down. He’s on a different planet right now.
Driver of the Race
Charles LeClerc. Going from 19th to 5th! What more can you say. I’m used to seeing someone doing this in F1 but I’m not used to it NOT being Lewis Hamilton. After what looked like a sure constructors championship for Ferrari, it’s been anything but the past few races. It’s a long season. Charles can make some noise with the Drivers championship…if Max stops being Max.Moment of the race: Honestly for me. It was the groundhog that ran out during practice. Just glad the lil dude is safe, unlike that squirrel. I also loved Fernand Alonso saying he was going to go after Max in the first corner after grabbing P2 in qualifying. 40 years old and looking great! Also, Perez deciding to walk back after crashing was certainly something I didn’t expect.
Moment of the race: Honestly for me. It was the groundhog that ran out during practice. Just glad the lil dude is safe, unlike that squirrel. I also loved Fernand Alonso saying he was going to go after Max in the first corner after grabbing P2 in qualifying. 40 years old and looking great! Also, Perez deciding to walk back after crashing was certainly something I didn’t expect.
Thoughts moving forward
Red Bull is on fire. Ferrari is not dead, heck they set the fastest lap. And here comes Lewis Hamilton. Not sure Lewis has another championship in him but it’s been a weird year for Lewis and now he’s getting things figured out. Also, I wish Haas had better results. I’m banking my fantasy team on Magnussen figuring things out! Also, Bottas looks really good again.