Formula 1: Max Verstappen holds off Carlos Sainz to win Canadian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen got Red Bull Racing its sixth consecutive Formula 1 win and his sixth victory of the season overall as he held off Carlos Sainz to win the Canadian Grand Prix.

Sainz chased Verstappen for the final 15 laps after a safety car for Yuki Tsunoda’s crash. But Sainz was never able to get close enough to Verstappen’s rear wing to attempt a pass.

Verstappen started the race in first and led early. Sainz took over the lead after Verstappen made his first pit stop of the day and again when Verstappen pitted for a second time. But Verstappen regained the lead after Sainz made his second pit stop and had enough speed to win the race ahead of Sainz and Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton had pace that matched Verstappen and Sainz before Tsunoda crashed exiting the pits. But the Red Bull and the Ferrari drove away over the final laps of the race and left Hamilton over six seconds back. Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russell finished fourth while Charles Leclerc finished fifth after starting 19th because of an engine change on Saturday.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 19: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 takes the chequered flag during the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 19, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen has won six of the first nine Formula 1 races this season. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Red Bull clearly the top team but Ferrari and Mercedes gain points

The win streak is making it clear that Verstappen and Red Bull are the ones to beat in 2022. The team has won seven of the first nine races of the season. Verstappen’s points lead is now 46 over teammate Sergio Perez and 49 over Leclerc. F1 drivers get 25 points for a win and a point for scoring the fastest lap in a race.

But Red Bull only scored Verstappen’s 25 points on Sunday. Perez was 21 points back of Verstappen and started outside the top 10 because of a crash in qualifying on Saturday on a wet track. Perez was forced to retire from the race with an engine problem and didn’t get any points for finishing last.

Perez’s problem means that Ferrari gained four points on Red Bull in the constructor standings and Mercedes got two. That’s not a lot of points, of course, but it’s something in a team battle that Red Bull tried to break open a week ago when neither Ferrari car scored points.

Ferrari is now 76 points back of Red Bull in the standings while Mercedes is 36 points back of Ferrari. Mercedes has won the last eight constructor titles and has a lot of work to do to get a ninth. The team’s pace in Montreal was promising, however. If the team can continue to make some gains then the weekly fight for wins will be among three teams for the first time in a long time.

Race results

1. Max Verstappen

2. Carlos Sainz

3. Lewis Hamilton

4. George Russell

5. Charles Leclerc

6. Esteban Ocon

7. Fernando Alonso

8. Valtteri Bottas

9. Zhou Guanyu

10. Lance Stroll

11. Daniel Ricciardo

12. Sebastian Vettel

13. Alex Albon

14. Pierre Gasly

15. Lando Norris

16. Nicholas Latifi

17. Kevin Magnussen

18. Yuki Tsunoda

19. Mick Schumacher

20. Sergio Perez