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F1 Review: Max Verstappen Wins in Canada, Carlos Sainz Shows Pace, Lewis Hamilton Back on the Podium

Max Verstappen is starting to make things look easy, earning his sixth win of 2022 and the 26th of his career as he put together a drama-free drive to claim victory at the Canadian Grand Prix. While Verstappen found himself in a tighter race in the last 15 laps than he had the previous 55, the drama never heightened to a point that would suggest he was not in control.

Carlos Sainz finished second, his fourth second-place finish of the year and a showing that he is a formidable driver when not recording DNFs. Lewis Hamilton earned just his second podium finish of the year in a solid drive where he out-performed his teammate for second time of the season.

George Russell continued with his amazingly consistent year. He has yet to finish outside of the top five and his fourth-place result in Canada kept him fourth in the standings. Charles Leclerc, starting 19th after power unit penalties, grabbed fifth on the day.

The Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso finished in sixth and seventh, respectively. Valtteri Bottas maintains his surprising performance for Alfa Romeo by earning eighth with teammate Zhou Guanyu again earning points by taking ninth. Lance Stroll, racing at his home GP, managed to score the last points-paying position in 10th.

*Note: Alonso was given a five-second time penalty after the Grand Prix by the stewards, dropping him from seventh to ninth

The Race

After scooting away cleanly at lights out, Verstappen built a three-second lead by lap 6. With reliability not seeming to be a factor for Red Bull, the race already appeared to be over.

See also
Max Verstappen Withstands the Pressure to Win F1's Return to Canada

Early drama came in the form of Kevin Magnussenʻs front wing suffering damage on the start by colliding with Ocon. Forced to pit for a new wing by the race director, Magnussen fell from sixth to 20th. He then moved up a spot when Sergio Perez endured a hydraulic failure and recorded a DNF on lap 10, bringing out a virtual safety car. For Perez, the DNF came on the heels of crashing in qualifying and starting in the 13th position.

Mick Schumacher dropping out on lap 20 seemed to be an attempt to create drama, bringing a virtual safety car and differing pit strategies. The shake-up did little to bring about any drastic change as Verstappen again took to the lead and by lap 30 had pushed out to nearly 10 seconds over Sainz.

The highlight came in the form of watching Leclerc drive from 19th through the field. By lap 30, he held the sixth spot and was dogging Ocon for fifth. Not long after, he made the pass and moved into fifth.

Yuki Tsunoda crashed out on lap 49 after pitting and coming out on cold tires that would not offer the grip he needed. The ensuing safety car closed the field and gave Sainz a free pit stop for fresh tires with an opportunity to chase down Verstappen.

Unfortunately, the ensuing restart on lap 55 did not deliver any drama at the front. Leclerc, however, started in seventh and was able to jump both Alpines to end the day in fifth.

The reality is that both Red Bull and Verstappen are too good. He has opened up his lead over second-place Perez 175–128, with Leclerc sitting in third with 126.

The Good

– Save for a blip at Monaco, Verstappen has won five of the last six races. He is putting together the kind of dominant performances that Hamilton has shown during his championship seasons. His relationship with Red Bull has become symbiotic with Verstappen forming a cyborg relationship with the car, able to drive to his will. Even as Sainz had DRS advantage in going after the defending champion, he could do nothing with Verstappen keeping him behind and aggravating the Ferrari driver enough to hold on for the win.

The Bad

– If any team squandered a golden opportunity, Haas would be the one. Starting from the fifth and sixth spots, Magnussen and Schumacher, looked poised to bring home a stellar points day for the American team. By lap 20, the hopes had vanished, with Schumacher out and Magnussen deep in the field.

The Haas team continues to find ways to waste opportunities and any sane person would wonder if changes of some sort are in order. Such a comment is not meant to suggest that Magnussen should be cut, but Schumacherʻs struggles to earn even his first F1 points are worth examining. In conjunction, does the organization need a new voice other than Guenther Steinerʻs, who has been the principal since the team joined the grid in 2016? There seem to be times when the team just is not prepared or fails to handle things in a way that brings better results.

– Joining Haas as team failure on Sunday is McLaren. Perhaps no team represents a yo-yo more adroitly than does McLaren. For every moment of brilliance, the Woking outfit seems to back them with a startling act of incompetence or silliness. In six of the last seven races, Lando Norris had finished in the points with a DNF being the other result. Ricciardo has finished in the points only twice during that same span.

Those statistics have somehow kept McLaren in fourth position in the constructor standings but the results also show a team that is not doing its best in capitalizing on solid starting positions. In Canada, Ricciardo started a respectable ninth and yet finished outside of the points even with two drivers who started ahead of him dropping behind or out. This story seems to encapsulate much of what has been surrounding the team all year long

The Questionable

– The porpoising issue is one where the FIA have decided to intervene. They announced the decision to become more present in the issue ahead of this weekend and recognized that driverʻs will push themselves in unhealthy conditions all in the name of competition. This issue is a challenging one as team engineering is at the heart of the matter and leveling the competition advantages seems ananthema to the goal of the sport.

The truth is that the competitive drive of both the teams and the drivers will push things to absurd limits and there is every reason to believe that something is not working if safety is something that matters as much as the sport says it does. The question is how to work with or mandate the issue in a way that seems fair. Verstappen, with a car that leads the field, has issues with any organizational dictating and he has every reason to be displeased. Red Bull have figured out something everyone else has not. This issue will be one that will be hovering over the paddock until the summer break, if not longer.

The Driver

– Yes, Verstappen is tearing it up and deserves all the accolades he is getting. But how about some kudos for Carlos Sainz. With three DNFs this season, he has suffered through some terrible outcomes. On the flip side, he has also finished on the podium in all but one race that he has made it to the checkered flag (and the outlier was a fourth). The Canadian GP represented the kind of drive expected from the Spanish driver and gave Ferrari reason to smile as he hounded Verstappen to the finish and grabbed another second-place finish.

The Quotable

– Verstappen enjoyed his victory by joking that  “The safety car didn’t help!”

He added, “It was really exciting at the end, I mean I was giving it everything I had, of course Carlos was doing the same. Following is tricky around here, but I could see he was pushing, charging, pushing. But of course naturally when you’re on the DRS it’s a bit easier to charge. So, yeah, the last few laps were a lot of fun!”

– Sainz lamented his results by saying, “We were two, three-tenths quicker the whole race, but those two, three-tenths are not enough to pass around here; you need a bit more pace delta to try and pass. It was close a couple of times. It’s a shame but at the same time I will take the positive and know that today the pace was there, and I was feeling at home and able to push Max to the limit.”

– Hamilton offered hope this his fans, remarking, “It feels great to be in amongst the battle, for a second I was kind of keeping up with these guys. It’s given me and the team a lot of hope that there’s more to come from this car, the potential is there.”

The Results: Canadian Grand Prix; Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Montréal, Canada (June 19)

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired PTS
1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RBPT 70 1:36:21.757 25
2 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 70 +0.993s 19
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 70 +7.006s 15
4 63 George Russell Mercedes 70 +12.313s 12
5 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 70 +15.168s 10
6 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 70 +23.890s 8
7 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 70 +24.945s 6
8 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari 70 +25.247s 4
9 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Ferrari 70 +26.952s 2
10 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 70 +38.222s 1
11 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 70 +43.047s 0
12 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 70 +44.245s 0
13 23 Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes 70 +44.893s 0
14 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT 70 +45.183s 0
15 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 70 +52.145s 0
16 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 70 +59.978s 0
17 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 70 +68.180s 0
NC 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT 47 DNF 0
NC 47 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 18 DNF 0
NC 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing RBPT 7 DNF 0

* Provisional results. Sainz scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.

About the author

As a writer and editor, Ava anchors the Formula 1 coverage for the site, while working through many of its biggest columns. Ava earned a Masters in Sports Studies at UGA and a PhD in American Studies from UH-Mānoa. Her dissertation Chased Women, NASCAR Dads, and Southern Inhospitality: How NASCAR Exports The South is in the process of becoming a book.

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