MONTREAL: Max Verstappen of Red Bull held off Carlos Sainz’s charging Ferrari to win the Canadian GP on Sunday and surge 46 points clear in the Formula One world championship.
The 24-year-old Dutch driver Verstappen (1:36:21.757) clinched his 26th career victory by finishing 0.993 seconds ahead of Sainz, who closed the gap and set up a thrilling final chase following a safety car deployment. Lewis Hamilton (+7.006 seconds) completed the podium for Mercedes in a remarkable turnaround for the Briton, who had dismissed his bouncing car as “undriveable” only a few days earlier.
Sainz collected the bonus point for the fastest lap as Ferrari (228 points) trimmed the gap to runaway leader Red Bull (304 points) in the constructors’ championship to 76 points from the previous 80. “It was really exciting at the end. I was giving it everything I had and, of course, Carlos was doing the same,” said Verstappen after his sixth win of the season.
“I could see that he (Sainz) was pushing and charging; when you are on the DRS (drag reduction system), it is a lot easier to charge. The last few laps were a lot of fun,” added the defending champion. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez, who remains second overall with 129 points, retired and triggered a virtual safety car after just eight of the 70 scheduled laps as his car became stuck in gear.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc started 19th after engine penalties and ended the day fifth – 15.168 seconds behind the winner – but is now 49 points behind Verstappen. Finishing just ahead of Leclerc at fourth was George Russell (+12.313 seconds) of Mercedes.