Druck, that was never a problem for Max Verstappen. At the Canadian Grand Prix he showed that he can withstand great pressure. In the final phase, the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz jr. close to within 0.3 seconds, but the Dutchman passed the stress test and celebrated his sixth win of the season in the ninth race on Sunday.
The surprise of the day is record champion Lewis Hamilton, who can steer his silver arrow in third place. Mick Schumacher, on course for points, has to park the Haas-Ferrari early. Sebastian Vettel only finished twelfth. Before Formula 1 returns to Europe, Verstappen is now 49 points ahead of Charles Leclerc, who started from the last row, after his debut victory in Montreal in the World Championship.
The starting straight on the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve quickly dissolves into an S-curve, little time to accelerate and even less space to maneuver. Accelerate, turn in, defend. Nobody has mastered the racing rule of three as well as Max Verstappen, who is only on pole position for the second time this season. After a rainy qualifying Saturday, the Dutchman has to deal with very unfamiliar opponents in the first two rows of the grid in the Red Bull-Honda.
Right next to him is Fernando Alonso, who will soon be 41 and hasn’t started from that far up the field in ten years. With a lot of routine and even more feeling, he maneuvered his Alpine racing car through the difficult conditions in qualifying and immediately revealed his racing tactics: “Maximum attack!” What else.
Ferrari’s honor must go to Alonso’s Spanish compatriot Carlos Sainz jr. save, for which it starts in third place. Title candidate Charles Leclerc had to change the entire drive train after his bitter failure in Baku and was therefore moved to the last row of the grid. Sainz’s next-seat driver, Lewis Hamilton, surprisingly managed to move up to fourth place. On Friday he described his still-jumping Silver Arrow as a “disaster”, but on Saturday he felt like it was 2007 again, in his first year in Formula 1: “Fourth place has never felt so good.”
Mick Schumacher can also say the same about himself, who, after a season full of problems, setbacks and mistakes, has never been able to place himself so far up front as on the difficult power track on the island in the Saint Lawrence River: for the Haas driver starts sixth behind his teammate Kevin Magnussen. He wants to keep swimming.
The unusually mixed starting field does not produce the expected drama, after a three-year absence from Montreal, reason and restraint dictate the start. Max Verstappen is amazed that no one can sit level. Alonso’s start is significantly weaker than his motivation, behind which Sainz and Hamilton falter. The perfect scenario for the frontrunner who wants to pull away unchallenged. At least Sainz manages to follow in the third lap.