Start Line of Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal
Image: Wikimedia Commons/ Maria Azzurra Mugnai

Verstappen Emerges Victorious: An Overview of the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula One fans were entertained once again this season by another exciting Grand Prix in Canada.

Fresh from the thrill of Monaco, which saw hometown hero, Charles Leclerc, take victory at his home race for the first time in his career, Montreal hosted Canadian driver, Lance Stroll, for his own home race. Excitement was heightened by the constantly changing weather, a huge factor for teams and drivers to take into consideration – rain affected almost all the weekend’s sessions, including Sunday’s race.

The mixed conditions had an impact on drivers and their positions in Saturday’s qualifying session. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were ultimately disappointed, as both found themselves unable to progress into Q3, the first time both Ferrari drivers have failed to advance into the top ten on the grid since 2021. However, despite the disappointment for Ferrari, other teams were able to make the most of the situation. The McLarens shared the second row and Lance Stroll qualified in ninth, his highest-ever starting position for his home race. Elsewhere on the grid, Daniel Riccardo’s fifth place was RB’s highest starting position for 2024. In the end, George Russell took pole and Max Verstappen shared the front row with him in second. The two drivers set the same time but as Russell had driven first, he qualified ahead of Verstappen, making it only the second time in the history of the sport that this rule come into effect.

There was still excitement for certain teams as both McLaren and Mercedes were able to take a huge step forward towards Redbull

The race was filled with action as rain continued to plague drivers over the course of 70 laps. Early rain saw the grid on intermediate tyres except for the Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg, who used wet tyres on their cars. Two safety cars were needed after the crash of Logan Sargeant and the collision between Carlos Sainz and Alex Albon, drivers who are rumoured to be teammates at Williams next year. Despite difficulties further down the grid, excitement continued at the front as the lead changed hands between George Russell, Lando Norris, and Max Verstappen. Ultimately, the reigning world champion took his third consecutive victory in Canada. Norris and McLaren settled for second, with George Russell taking third, Mercedes’ first non-sprint podium finish since Abu Dhabi 2023.

There were many talking points after the race. After magic in Monaco, there was Montreal misery for the Scuderia as both cars retired: Charles Leclerc’s engine issue proved fatal, and Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari was deemed too damaged to continue the race after his contact with Alex Albon. Misery continued for Williams as both Albon and Sargeant also retired; the former after contact with Carlos Sainz and the latter after contact with the wall. It was also a disappointing race for Sergio Pérez, who should have been celebrating the announcement of his contract extension and an extension of his time with the reigning constructor’s champions.

Canada was the stage for Mercedes’ Masuccess with their first pole position since Hungary 2023

Despite the disappointment for teams across the paddock, there was still excitement for certain teams as both McLaren and Mercedes were able to take a huge step forward towards Redbull. For a large part of the race, the McLarens were the quickest cars on track, with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri often exchanging the fastest lap. Additionally, Canada was the stage for Mercedes’ success with their first pole position since Hungary 2023; a positive indication for the team who have spent a large part of these new regulations struggling to create a competitive car.

As a four-way fight for race wins continues to emerge at the front between Redbull, Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes, things are sure to be interesting as the calendar hosts the first triple-header of the season in Europe with a return to Spain, Austria, and Silverstone.


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