Verstappen wins action-packed Canadian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen times switch to slicks to perfection on drying track to finish ahead of Lando Norris and George Russell

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 09, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202406090653 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen came out on top in an eventful Canadian Grand Prix, extending his lead in the drivers’ championship.

George Russell and Lando Norris both led in Montreal, but the Britons had to settle for podium finishes as the Red Bull driver timed his switch to slick tyres to perfection.

The race started on a wet track, but with the rain having seemingly moved away most of the field started on intermediate tyres, except the Haas drivers, who both started on full wets.

The decision paid off early on as more rain started to fall, allowing Kevin Magnussen to climb up to fifth just three laps into the race, while Nico Hulkenberg also found himself running in the points.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton fought over sixth place, with both running wide as they looked to make the most of the drying track, whiel Logan Sargeant dropped back after running off the track.

A dry line continued to appear, but with the radar suggesting another shower was on the way, no-one made the early switch the slicks.

While Verstappen and Russell appeared to have used the best of their inters, Norris still had plenty of pace 20 laps in, and managed to pass Verstappen for second before quickly closing the gap to the leader before passing the Mercedes for the lead. Russell ran wide moments later, allowing Verstappen to claim second.

Norris’s tyre advantage showed as he quickly established an 8-second lead, but the safety car was out when Sargeant had his second spin of the day, this time colliding with the barrier and coming to a standstill on the track.

Norris didn’t immediately come into the pits, but the rest of the front runners did, taking new sets of the intermediate tyre. The McLaren driver did come in on the next lap, but having caught the safety car before coming into the pits, Norris lost time and rejoined the race in third.

Just before the safety car ended, Charles Leclerc became the first driver to put on the slick tyre, but as green flag conditions returned the rain started to fall again, with Leclerc dropping almost 20 seconds to the leaders on the first lap after the restart.

After trying to make the slicks work for a couple of laps, Leclerc soon returned to the pitlane to switch back to the inters, leaving him almost a lap down.

Once the dry line started to appear again Alpine were the first to test the slick, with Pierre Gasly coming in for hards, before Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas switched to the medium.

Norris’s hopes of retaking the lead were dealt a blow when he ran wide, but he stayed out longer than Verstappen and Russell in a bid to overcut his two rivals. 

The McLaren rejoined ahead of Russell and briefly had his front wing ahead of Verstappen’s, but the Dutchman’s tyres were up to temperature, giving him the grip to edge ahead of Norris, while Russell reclaimed second shortly after when Norris went deep at the hairpin.

The battle between the two Britons continued though as Russell took too much kerb a couple of laps later, gifting Norris second place again.

A difficult day for Sergio Perez came to an end when he spun on a wet kerb, sending him backwards into a barrier and leaving him with a broken rear wing.

The safety car was back out moments later as Carlos Sainz also had a spin, collecting Alex Albon as the Ferrari spun back across the track.

Russell tried to fight his way back up into the podium places as he challenged Piastri for third, but the Australian defended hard, forcing Russell to run wide and drop behind Hamilton.

Hamilton soon caught up with Piastri, and made a simple pass, before Russell had another chance to get past the McLaren, and this time left enough room to avoid contact and take the position, before repassing his teammate a lap later.

In the battle for the tail end of the points positions, there were several cars running in close proximity, including Yuki Tsunoda who spin across the grass and back onto the racetrack, almost collecting Magnussen in the process, but the Haas driver reacting quickly to avoid contact.

Provisional classification:

1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. Lando Norris (McLaren)

3. George Russell (Mercedes)

4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

5. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

6. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)

7. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

8. Daniel Ricciardo (VCARB)

9. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

10. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

11. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)

12. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

13. Valtteri Bottas (Sauber)

14. Yuki Tsunoda (VCARB)

15. Guanyu Zhou (Sauber)


Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

Alex Albon (Williams)

Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

Logan Sargeant (Williams)

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