Max Verstappen tied the late Ayrton Senna for career wins and Red Bull won its 100th Formula One race when the Dutchman extended his season-long dominance at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Verstappen won for the sixth time this season, his fourth in a row, and Red Bull went a perfect 8 out of 8 on the year. The two-time reigning world champion’s victory was the 41st of his career, tying the 25-year-old with Senna for fifth overall.
«I hate comparing different generations,» Verstappen said, sidetracking him. «For my part, all I can say is that when I was a little boy driving and go-karting, I dreamed of being a Formula One driver. I never imagined winning 41.»
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«And of course I’m proud of that. But of course I hope it doesn’t stop here. I hope we can continue to win races.»
Lewis Hamilton holds the all-time record with 103 wins, but the seven-time champion said in Canada that he expected Verstappen to eventually surpass the mark. Verstappen was quick to point out that as Red Bull celebrated its 100th win, he alone was responsible for 41 wins.
«We’ll talk about maybe a new contract for that,» Verstappen said with a smile.
Red Bull principal Christian Horner expressed his gratitude over the radio as Verstappen crossed the finish line.
«A century for the team,» Horner told Verstappen. «Fantastic. And thank you for producing that race win.»
Hamilton and the rest of the field had hoped to challenge Verstappen at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where rain throughout the weekend stirred up the competition and created optimism that Red Bull would legitimately be challenged.
Fernando Alonso thought he had a chance, and it got better when Nico Hulkenberg was awarded a penalty in qualifying which moved Alonso to the front row alongside Verstappen for the start.
But Hamilton, starting with Mercedes teammate George Russell on the second row, made a surprising jump over Alonso and claimed second place at the start. Verstappen still easily pulled away from both, and on the first dry day of the weekend in Montreal, he scored another easy win.
The only bright spot for everyone chasing Verstappen was that his margin of victory over Alonso was just 9.5 seconds.
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Yes. It was the closest race of the season because Verstappen has been so dominant that he normally wins by more than 20 seconds a race. In fact, Alonso himself pointed out after qualifying on Saturday that the only way to put pressure on Verstappen was to be «two seconds behind them. Not 20 seconds behind them.»
«It’s probably not our best race, but still to win by nine seconds, I think it shows that we have a great car,» Verstappen said of the winning margin.
It wasn’t a blowout loss for Red Bull; Sergio Pérez, who was hoping to «restart» his season in Canada, came in a distant sixth. Pérez has been so disappointing of late that Alonso answered with a simple «yes» when asked if he could pass Pérez in the championship standings.
Pérez is second in the standings with just nine points ahead of Alonso. Verstappen leads his Red Bull teammate Perez by 69 points.
Hamilton finished third for his second consecutive podium finish and was followed by Ferrari team-mates Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Williams’ Alex Albon was seventh and followed by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
McLaren’s Lando Norris, who earlier in the race was handed a five-second penalty for unsportsmanlike behaviour, waged a frantic last-lap battle that thrilled fans who had sat in on an otherwise predictable parade of Verstappen. Norris complained on his radio that the Alpine’s rear wing was flapping and was as dangerous to him as the car behind him.
Norris chased Ocon through the final lap and the two had a wheel-to-wheel battle at the final chicane, where Norris had to give up the game of chicken. Norris dropped from ninth to 13th.
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Lance Stroll was ninth for Aston Martin, a disappointment for the only Canadian in the field. His father owns an Aston Martin and Lawrence Stroll expected both of his cars to make it to the podium.