Canadian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen holds off Lando Norris and George Russell in Montreal

It was not the easiest weekend in Montreal for Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

But it ended like 59 grands prix have before, with Verstappen on the top step of the podium, and the Dutch National Anthem playing.

The Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix delivered many twists and turns this Sunday, as rainy and wet conditions created a number of different strategy decisions for the ten teams and created some tricky conditions for the drivers to navigate. And for a moment, it looked as if Lando Norris was going to drive away from Verstappen — and the field — and claim his second F1 victory just weeks after securing his first.

But Montreal had another twist up its sleeve, as a safety car brought out by a spin from Logan Sargeant came at a fortuitous moment for Verstappen. The timing was perfect for the Red Bull driver, and absolutely brutal for Norris, as Verstappen was able to make a pit stop first and stay ahead of Norris when the McLaren driver made his own pit stop a lap later.

While that same set of circumstances played out differently during Norris’ win in the Miami Grand Prix, which allowed him to take the lead at the restart, “what goes around comes around,” as Red Bull Race Engineer Gianpiero Lambiase reminded Verstappen during the race.

There were still more hurdles Verstappen needed to climb, including a late-stage restart brought about when Carlos Sainz Jr. spun out and collected Alexander Albon, but Verstappen nailed that final restart, and drove away with his sixth Grand Prix victory of the season.

“Pretty crazy race … I think as a team we just did really well today,” said Verstappen to Martin Brundle trackside. “That was a lot of fun.

“We won, that’s the most important.”

Still, it was not the cleanest of weekends for Verstappen and the team, and even with the win Red Bull saw McLaren inch closer to them in the Constructors’ Championship standings. The field truly is closing up, and a fight for the title is afoot.

Perhaps making today’s win for Verstappen a critical one as this F1 season rolls on.

Here are the full results, as well as some more winners and losers from the Canadian Grand Prix:

Winners: McLaren

On the one hand, McLaren might be wondering what might have been. In the early stages of the Canadian Grand Prix Lando Norris was in the lead and charging away from the pack. But a safety car brought out by Logan Sargent going into the barrier broke against him, as it allowed Verstappen and the rest of the field to take a pit stop ahead of him. Norris came into the pits a lap later than the front cars, but was forced to rejoin the fight in third.

Then in the closing laps, with Norris running second and Piastri third, there was a shot at a double podium for the team. But Piastri eventually lost ground to both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

The end result? A P2 for Norris and a P5 for Piastri.

However …

When it comes to the long game, this was a massive result, and a massive weekend, for McLaren.

Even with Verstappen’s P1, McLaren gained three points in their hunt for Red Bull at the top of the Constructors’ Championship standings. Then there was the fact that Ferrari saw both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. retire from the race. As a result, McLaren inches 28 points closer to Ferrari for P2 in the Constructors’ Championship, and they now trail the Scuderia by just 40 points.

“To be honest, I felt like I drove a good race,” said Norris trackside to Martin Brundle. “There’s always something that’s going to come into play. Fair play to Max he drove a good race, no mistakes.

“I’m not going to be the one to complain [about the safety car]. We’re close, it’s nice to be so close once again.”

And now they are that much closer to the top of the table.

Loser: Sergio Pérez

F1 Grand Prix of Canada

Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

It began as a week to remember for Sergio Pérez.

It ended with a weekend to forget.

Pérez and Red Bull announced a new contract at the start of the week, a deal that could keep Pérez with the team through the 2026 season. But it was all downhill from there for the Mexican driver. Pérez failed to advance out of Q1 on Saturday, resulting in a start at the back of the field.

Then his race ended early, as he slid off the track and into the barrier, causing terminal damage to the rear wing of his RB20.

Following his session on Saturday, Pérez called the day a “total disaster.” That could be said of his entire weekend in Montreal, which saw him leave the Canadian Grand Prix without anything to show for a week’s work.

Other than a new contract, of course.

Winners: Mercedes

Saturday brought the first pole position of the season for Mercedes.

Sunday brought their first podium.

George Russell started up front in the Canadian Grand Prix, and while he could not hold off Verstappen and Norris at the front of the field, he held on for the final spot of the podium, bringing some hardware back to Brackley. Teammate Lewis Hamilton came across the line fourth, as Mercedes delivered their best result of the 2024 season.

“Felt like a missed opportunity to be honest,” said Russell trackside to Martin Brundle. “First podium of the year, we truly had a really fast car this weekend.

“We’ll take all the positives from the weekend.”

The main positive for Mercedes? The talk of progress that has been coming from the team seems much more than empty words at the moment. The upgrades Mercedes started rolling out at the Miami Grand Prix have truly seen an improvement in both qualifying pace and race pace. Speaking with the media at the Miami Grand Prix Hamilton noted how he and Russell were constantly on a “knife’s edge” with the W15, and there was a tiny operating window with the car with almost no margin for error.

That certainly seems to have changed for the team.

Will it be enough to turn a potential three-way fight for the title into a four-way fight? That does seem like a bridge too far at the moment.

But they are miles ahead of where they were just a few weeks ago.

Losers: Ferrari

F1 Grand Prix of Canada

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Ferrari were the “Masters of Monaco” two weeks ago, as Charles Leclerc finally captured his home race and teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. finished on the podium with him, in third. The result captivated the entire F1 world, with fans going to sleep at night — including the Tifosi — with dreams of a title fight dancing in their heads.

Those dreams turned into nightmares of Montreal misery this weekend.

Both Leclerc and Sainz failed to advance out of Q2 on Saturday, and as a result, both drivers started the Canadian Grand Prix outside of the points. It was going to be an uphill fight for Ferrari to begin with, but things worsened throughout the race. Leclerc was battling a power issue with his SF-24 and slowly slid back through the field. Then the team rolled the dice with a set of slicks as weather loomed, hoping the weather pattern might miss the circuit and the gamble would pay off.

It did not, and Leclerc was soon lapped by the lead drivers and forced to pit again for a fresh set of intermediates. Ultimately, the team decided to just retire the car ending his day early.

On the other side of the garage, their day ended early as well. Sainz was still on the outside of the points looking in, but he spun out on Lap 54 and slid back onto the track and in the racing line, collecting Alexander Albon and knocking the Williams driver out of the race as well.

Disaster for Ferrari.

Winners: Alpine

Alpine today accomplished something that has to date been unattainable.

A double-points finish.

Their first points came in the Miami Grand Prix, when Esteban Ocon held on down the stretch in a battle with Nico Hülkenberg to claim a P10 result, and the team’s first point of the year. They doubled that tally the last time out in the Monaco Grand Prix, when Pierre Gasly survived an opening-lap incident — with Ocon of all people — to hang on for the team’s second P10 on the year, and Gasly’s first point.

Today both drivers finished in the points, with Gasly up in ninth, and Ocon in tenth.

What might make this result feel even better back in Enstone is how it comes at the end of what has been a difficult two weeks for the team, following an equally-difficult start to the season.

Coming out of pre-season training the team knew the A524, their challenger for this season, was overweight and needed a lot of work. Add into that the opening-lap crash between Gasly and Ocon in Monaco, nearly two full weeks of discussion over Ocon’s place with the team (both in Montreal and going forward) and then the announcement that Ocon and Alpine would be parting ways at the end of the season, and you have a lot for a team to deal with.

To cap that off with a double-points result — and the first one of the season at that — goes into the books as a big win for Alpine.

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