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Rain, dry track, crashes: Verstappen wins an eventful Canadian Grand Prix

Rain, dry track, crashes: Verstappen wins an eventful Canadian Grand Prix

The Canadian Grand Prix brought serious excitement that finally ended in victory for defending champion Max Verstappen. Lando Norris came in second place, and in third place came the great George Russell, who overtook two of them in the final laps.

Before the race in Montreal, one of the main questions was what kind of weather the field would receive during the Grand Prix, and in the end – as many forecasts “predicted” – there was a wet track awaiting the field after rain had fallen in the previous hours. The start was also achieved once.

As for the starting grid, the winner of the unforgettable historical time trials, George Russell, started from the front, followed by Max Verstappen, with whom he reached a “draw” yesterday.

The second starting row was made up of the McLaren drivers, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri in that order, and the third was the surprise qualifying man, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso. Lewis Hamilton only started from seventh place, and Juki Konoda from eighth.

After a disappointing qualifying session, the Ferrari drivers finished only eleventh (Charles Leclerc) and twelfth (Carlos Sainz), and Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez only finished sixteenth.

The aim of all three drivers was to catch up, which on paper would have been helped by the conditions, as the chance of chaos always increases on a wet track.

With the exception of the Haas drivers, everyone started the race on medium tyres: in contrast, Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg finished 14th and 17th on full wet tyres.

The start of the Canadian Grand Prix (Photo: XPB)

They benefited greatly after this start: Magnussen was already sixth on the second lap, and Hulkenberg was tenth.

The order at the front remained unchanged at the start, but among the pursuers, Ricciardo lost position to Alonso and Hamilton.

On the next lap, the Dane was already in fifth place, and the German was already in ninth place, while several intermediates pointed out that the track was wetter than they expected. The turning point came around the seventh round, when the intermediate riders started making better laps on the drying track (the sun was shining by now).

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Haas responded with a quick change, but Magnussen's stop was slow and he only returned to 14th place. Hülkenberg stopped much later and only returned to the back of the line after losing more and more time on the wet tyres.

At the front during this time, the duo of Russell and Verstappen built a serious eight-second lead over Norris, who also held a six-second lead over his teammate.

Norris, with the mediators working more and more, began to close the gap: there were laps when he was two, and even two seconds faster than the duo of Russell and Verstappen. The McLaren driver overtook his rivals on lap sixteen, ensuing a three-way battle at the front (Verstappen following Russell like a shadow for laps).

Kevin Magnussen (Photo: XPB)

It is possible that Russell will catch his breath on the next lap, as Verstappen made a small mistake at the beginning of the track, which led to him wasting several seconds, leaving him and Norris behind the Mercedes driver.

By lap 20, Verstappen and Norris had reduced the gap to zero, so the gaps between the top three were once again slim – but the order had already changed! At the end of the lap, Norris pushed Verstappen behind him on the back straight, thus taking second place.

One lap later, Norris chased down Russell, who slid before the final chicane at the end of the maneuver, opening the door for Verstappen as well – losing two places in just a few moments.

Norris dictated an impressive pace even after overtaking: in four laps his lead over Verstappen had increased to ten seconds. Meanwhile, his teammate Piastri pulled off a double from Russell and Verstappen.

The picture of the race changed again on the twenty-fifth lap, as the safety car was sent to the track due to Logan Sargeant slipping and then exiting, and everyone quickly took advantage of this to change their used medium tires, and Norris came among the worst, who was only one lap away from his competitors, He was unable to stand, so he lost position to both Verstappen and Russell.

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During the safety car changes, Hamilton also moved ahead of Alonso, after he followed him like a shadow for long laps on the track, but the Spaniard confidently defended his position.

Ferrari tried the dry track tire for the first time with Leclerc, who, after his long layoff, was only able to start on non-studded tires after the race ended.

George Russell and Lando Norris (Photo: XPB)

After the restart, the order at the front was unchanged between Verstappen, Russell, Norris and Piastri, while rain reached the track again, with Ferrari and Leclerc (who quickly returned to the garage for the intermediates) losing the most.

After the “first” laps, Verstappen gradually increased his advantage over Russell, who had to pay more attention to the rear, as Norris was again in overtaking distance. At this stage of the race, Hamilton also imposed a good pace: he did not stray from the lead, but was constantly following Piastri.

With the track dry again, the McLaren drivers began to set the pace again, with Mercedes and Hamilton the first to switch to dry tires on lap forty-four. Piastri followed him into the pits (one lap later), and then the entire midfield decided to change.

Norris stayed on the track the longest with the middle ones, who put in a lot of effort in the two laps before the change, building a 21-second advantage, and after the pit stops, were back alongside Verstappen, who quickly passed him on the warmer tyres, but with this tactic pushed Russell behind him.

But on the track, the order changed again after Norris stopped himself on the forty-ninth lap, took advantage of his compatriot's mistake and regained second place in the back single.

Two laps later, Russell made a mistake that Norris took advantage of to regain second place. Meanwhile, Verstappen (although he was unhappy with his car and noted that he was no longer using the wheel pumps at full capacity) built a five-second advantage, capitalizing on the Brit's mistakes.

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On lap 54, the safety car was returned to the track after Sainz slid and swept Albon, who was coming behind him – the incident ended the race for both. At the same time, Sergio Pérez also fell, who also skidded on the still wet corner and broke his rear wing.

Max Verstappen (Photo: XPB)

Mercedes quickly took advantage of the SC stage to change tires on Russell and Hamilton's cars, resulting in Russell losing position to Piastri, but gaining tire advantage with his teammate.

During the final twelve laps, the differentials were reduced to zero again and the exciting finish began. Verstappen, on the other hand, handled this very confidently: his advantage increased to almost two seconds by the end of the first lap. On the other hand, Russell attacked Piastri several times, and at the end of the sixty-third lap he collided with the Australian at the last corner and thus lost his position to Hamilton.

Hamilton reached third place on the sixty-fifth lap! At the back straight, he took his tire advantage and sent Piastri behind, who was also passed by Russell on the following lap. The last laps were full of excitement due to the battle between the Mercedes duo: Russell attacked his strong-driving teammate at a good pace, on the faster and intermediate vehicles, from whom he “stole” the podium position two laps before the start of the wave.

Meanwhile, Verstappen held pole position firmly at the front, and Norris still had enough of an advantage to retain second place over Russell.

So Verstappen won the Canadian race, Norris had to settle for second place, and Russell took his first podium of the year, which was also Mercedes' first podium of the year.

Hamilton came in fourth place, and finally Piastri in fifth place, then Alonso and Stroll finished the race, and Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon collected points in the race.

Final result of the Canadian Grand Prix:

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