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Verstappen's championship to lose as Hamilton roars back - What we learned at the Canadian GP

Verstappen's championship to lose as Hamilton roars back - What we learned at the Canadian GP

F1 News

Verstappen's championship to lose as Hamilton roars back - What we learned at the Canadian GP

Verstappen's championship to lose as Hamilton roars back - What we learned at the Canadian GP

Max Verstappen took a thrilling victory at the Canadian Grand Prix after holding off a late charge from Carlos Sainz in Montréal.

The reigning F1 world champion extended his lead at the top of the championship to 46 points over team-mate Sergio Perez, who retired early on at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

After Charles Leclerc fought his way through the pack from the back of the grid, what did we learn in Canada?

Verstappen's championship to lose

The Dutchman appeared to be enjoying a comfortable afternoon for the majority of the 70 laps despite higher-than-expected tyre degradation forcing him to pit for a second time and chase down Sainz.

But a late safety car threw up 15 laps of drama as the Spaniard, who had used the disruption to pit again himself, hounded Verstappen in search of a maiden F1 victory, all to no avail.

The Red Bull simply had too much pace despite the efforts of Sainz, and with Verstappen notching up the team's sixth victory in a row, it is hard to see light at the end of the tunnel for Ferrari.

The gap at the top of the championship is so vast that Verstappen is just four points shy of being able to afford two retirements and still remain at the top of the table.

There is a long way to go in this championship yet - 13 races - but it is starting to feel like Verstappen's to lose.

Sainz finally steps up

Sainz would have known early in the weekend that with team-mate Leclerc out of the equation through a power unit penalty, Ferrari's hopes would rest firmly on his shoulders.

What he lacked with wheelspin out of the final chicane in qualifying - an error that cost a front-row spot - Sainz made up for with immaculate pace in the race that only fell just short in his attempts to pass Verstappen.

It is a welcome confidence boost for the Spaniard given his trials and tribulations in the early part of the season, often being outperformed by Leclerc as he struggled with the F1-75 - incidents in Australia and Imola not helping his cause.

Canada could mark a turning point for Sainz and after showing what he is capable of in the second half of last season, Ferrari's driver pairing could yet prove capable of taking the fight to Red Bull.

Hamilton of old back with a bang

Who expected to be around when Lewis Hamilton was celebrating a third-place finish?

The Briton put recent woes behind him to take what turned out to be a fairly comfortable, lonely podium, even after the late safety car.

Hamilton had complained about his Mercedes W13 in practice on Friday having experimented with set-ups as the team chases fixes to its lack of pace and its bouncing issues.

But after qualifying fourth in a mixed-up session, Hamilton was never troubled around a circuit at which he has typically excelled, although one that, perhaps, doesn't suit his current machinery.

It was great to see the chirpy, bright demeanour back after the race and now the seven-time champion will be hoping for another step forward when arriving at Silverstone in two weeks' time.

Alonso rolls back years

Let's forget the race for the moment after engine gremlins halted Fernando Alonso's charge.

The Spaniard was sublime in qualifying on Saturday after topping the timesheets in a wet final practice session and triggering hope of a competitive run.

Nobody could have dreamt about just how good the two-time champion would be, though.

For the first time in 10 years, Alonso found himself on the front row and, despite being six-tenths down on pole-sitter Verstappen, arguably completed the best lap of anyone in the field.

It puts to bed any criticisms about his age and the constant 'why is a 40-year-old there when a young F2 champion [Oscar Piastri] is on the sidelines'.

See, this was the Alonso of old - ragging his machine around a circuit in a way only he could.

In the end, ninth was all he could muster after a penalty for weaving in defence on the final lap but take nothing away from the sheer brilliance of Alonso's qualifying - he's still got it.

Schumacher jinx intact

Mick Schumacher must be wondering what on earth he has to do to score his first points in F1.

The German has been under scrutiny since his second car-splitting crash of the year in Monaco and his fortunes have not been helped by Kevin Magnussen's impressive form upon his comeback to the sport.

But Schumacher qualified a stunning sixth in wet conditions in Canada and looked well set to finish in the top eight when holding off Guanyu Zhou early on.

Fortunes soured, however, when Schumacher's VF-22 shut down on entry to turn eight, forcing a retirement and an anguished team radio message.

It feels like a matter of time before the duck is broken, but that won't comfort Schumacher after the latest misfortune.

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