Red Bull’s Max Verstappen survived a tense finish to clinch victory at 2022 Canadian Grand Prix ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
Verstappen got a clean start to lead from Fernando Alonso who soon lost second to Carlos Sainz on the third lap.
Sergio Perez was the first driver to retire from the race on Lap 8 with transmission failure and triggered a Virtual Safety Car (VSC), which saw Verstappen lose his lead to Sainz as he pitted but a second VSC on Lap 20 saw Sainz hand the lead back to Verstappen who built a solid gap at the front.
Yuki Tsunoda however spun out on Lap 49 to trigger a late Safety Car which left Verstappen clinging on once the race resumed at the end of Lap 54, as he fought off Sainz to clinch his 26th victory in F1.
Lewis Hamilton finished third ahead of George Russell, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon, Alonso, Valtteri Bottas, Guanyu Zhou and Lance Stroll, although Alonso post-race received a five-second time penalty for weaving to block Bottas which dropped the Spaniard to ninth.
In the drivers’ standings, Verstappen now holds a 46 point lead over Perez with Leclerc still third after salvaging fifth place in the race, although the Monegasque is now three points behind Perez.
At lights out, Verstappen made a clean start as he led from Alonso and Sainz as the top five held position with Ocon the first driver to improve his position, as he overtook Mick Schumacher into Turn 3 for sixth.
Russell then cleared Schumacher for seventh into Turn 10 whilst Alonso held up Sainz until the Ferrari driver overtook Alonso for second on Lap 3 on the same lap that Russell passed Ocon for sixth which became fifth two laps later with an overtake on Kevin Magnussen.
Magnussen however was shown the black & orange flag for front wing damage on Lap 6 which led to him pitting two laps later, consequently dropping him out of points contention.
Perez became the first retiree of this race after he suffered transmission failure on Lap 8 which caused the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) to be deployed for two laps with several drivers including Verstappen making a cheap pit stop as Sainz assumed the lead of the race.
Verstappen cleared Alonso who hadn’t pitted on Lap 15 and steadily reduced a five-second deficit until the VSC was again deployed on Lap 20, following Schumacher’s retirement with mechanical issues which caused Sainz to pit and relinquish his lead to Verstappen.
Once the race recommenced on Lap 21, Verstappen maintained a 8s lead over Sainz whilst Alonso pitted on Lap 29, which promoted Leclerc to sixth as the Monegasque stayed out on his hard tyres but couldn’t pass Ocon prior to his sluggish stop on Lap 42.
Leclerc was soon able to clear Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda and Zhou to claim ninth as the Safety Car was deployed on Lap 49, after Tsunoda slid out into the barriers at Turn 1 to end the Japanese driver’s race.
Verstappen meanwhile had made his second stop at the end of Lap 43 to hand the lead back to Sainz who got lucky with the Safety Car timing
The race resumed at the end of Lap 54 as Verstappen led everyone back racing with nobody making an immediate overtake, although Zhou did eye up ninth-placed Sebastian Vettel on the back straight but couldn’t get close enough into the final chicane to make a pass.
A mistake from Vettel at the end of Lap 57 however enabled Zhou to claim ninth with Ricciardo following through into tenth.
Up front, Verstappen found himself under immense pressure as Sainz constantly got use of DRS down the back straight between Turns 10 and 11 and again on start/finish straight into Turn 1, yet Sainz struggled to get close enough to attempt an overtake.
As the checkered flag fell at the conclusion of Lap 70, Verstappen clung on for his 26th race victory in F1 and first in Canada as he fought off Sainz by just 0.993s.
Hamilton finished third ahead of Russell as Leclerc recovered from 19th on the grid to finish fifth ahead of Ocon, Alonso, Bottas, Zhou and Stroll who rounded out the top ten.
Alonso however was demoted post-race to ninth after he received a 5s time penalty for weaving to block Bottas in their battle for seventh during the closing laps.
F1 will now head to Silverstone for the 2022 British Grand Prix across 1-3 July as Hamilton, Russell and Lando Norris look to impress at their home race.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||70||1h 36m 21.757|
|2||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||70||+ 0.993|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||70||+ 7.006|
|4||George Russell||Mercedes||70||+ 12.313|
|5||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||70||+ 15.168|
|6||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||70||+ 23.890|
|7||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||70||+ 25.247|
|8||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||70||+ 26.952|
|9||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||70||+ 29.945|
|10||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||70||+ 38.222|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||70||+ 43.047|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||70||+ 44.245|
|13||Alex Albon||Williams||70||+ 44.893|
|14||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||70||+ 45.183|
|15||Lando Norris||McLaren||70||+ 52.145|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||70||+ 59.978|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||70||+ 68.180|
|RET||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||7||Transmission|