Max Verstappen, Red Bull ‘keep on top of the calls’ in 'crazy' rain-hit Canadian Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after winning the 2024 Canada Formula One Grand Prix. Picture: Charly Triballeau / AFP

Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after winning the 2024 Canada Formula One Grand Prix. Picture: Charly Triballeau / AFP

Published Jun 10, 2024


Max Verstappen eased the pressure on Sunday when he completed a hat-trick of victories at the Canadian Grand Prix to consolidate his early-season lead in the drivers' championship.

After being beaten in two of the previous three races, the series leader and three-time champion bounced back to his competitive best, with the aid of excellent calls from his team in a tactical race, to win by 3.879 seconds ahead of McLaren's Lando Norris.

Mercedes' George Russell, who started from pole position, finished third ahead of a fast, but frustrated teammate in seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen scored his third consecutive triumph at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and the 60th win of his career, having started second on the grid and, at times, riding his luck in a dramatic contest featuring two Safety Car interventions.

"That was a pretty crazy race and a lot of things were happening,"said Verstappen. "We had to keep on top of our calls and as a team we did really well today. We remained calm and we pitted at the right time."

With both Ferraris failing to finish – just two weeks after Charles Leclerc claimed an emotional win in his home Monaco Grand Prix – Verstappen's success lifted him 56 points clear of the Monegasque driver in the title race.

"The safety cars worked out nicely for us this time," he added, referring to the Miami Grand Prix where he lost his advantage, allowing Norris to claim his maiden win. "But even after that we were managing the gaps quite well.

"I loved it. It was a lot of fun. These kind of races you need to have once in a while. The most important thing is that we won. The suspension problem is not particularly an issue."

"We know what it is, so we just need to work on it. We still have room to improve."

Hamilton, who was self-critical after the race, was passed by Russell in the closing laps, but finished ahead of fifth-placed Oscar Piastri in the second McLaren and two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin.

'It was wild. It was chaotic'

Local hope Lance Stroll was seventh in the second Aston Martin ahead of RB's Daniel Ricciardo and the two Alpines of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.

"A lot of fun," said Norris, who, with Piastri, brought McLaren their first points in Canada since 2014 on the 56th anniversary of the team's first win, with Bruce McLaren, at the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix.

"It was wild. It was chaotic. It was eventful. To be honest, I felt like I drove a good race, the whole time, from start to finish. These conditions are so stressful inside the car, but very enjoyable at the same time."

Russell said: "That was an ugly race on my behalf and I am sorry for that. It feels like a big missed opportunity to be honest. We had a fast car this weekend."

On a day of showers and sunshine, five cars - Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull, both Ferraris and both Williams - failed to finish in front of a big enthusiastic crowd who revelled in the changing conditions and race positions.

Verstappen's win carried him to 194 points in the drivers' championship ahead of Leclerc on 138 and Norris on 131. In the constructors' race Red Bull, in a troubled season by their standards, moved to 301 points ahead of Ferrari on 252.