Max Verstappen made it six victories from eight races in 2023 with a dominant display during the 2023 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, leading home the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, as Red Bull maintained their 100% winning record for the season so far.
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Verstappen’s lights-to-flag triumph also gave Red Bull their 100th victory in the sport, 18 years on from the team’s debut, while the Dutchman made more history by drawing level with the legendary Ayrton Senna on 41 wins – extending his championship lead in the process.
Alonso and Hamilton traded places on multiple occasions throughout the race, Hamilton getting the jump at the start but falling back behind when the strategies unfolded, meaning it was the Spaniard who finished runner-up to the record-setting Verstappen.
George Russell missed out on a potential podium fight in the other Mercedes after an early crash caused major damage to his car and dropped him to the foot of the order, with the resulting Safety Car leading to different strategic approaches.
Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were two of only five drivers – along with Red Bull’s Perez, Haas man Kevin Magnussen and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas – to stay out under the Safety Car, giving them track position that they converted into P4 and P5 respectively.
Perez took a lonely sixth, and the fastest lap bonus point, as he did his best to limit the damage after a third successive compromised qualifying session, while Albon made the most of his top 10 starting spot – and a well-timed single stop under the Safety Car – to give Williams a much-welcomed haul of points in seventh.
Albon had to fend off a train of cars in the closing stages of the race that included Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, McLaren’s Lando Norris, the aforementioned Bottas and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, benefitting from the upgraded FW45’s strong straight-line speed.
Norris would lose his points finish after the chequered flag, though, having been given a five-second penalty for “unsportsmanlike conduct” behind the Safety Car, the McLaren man accused of backing up the pack to clear the way for a McLaren ‘double-stack’ in the pits.
That meant Norris dropped to P13, behind teammate Oscar Piastri and the other Alpine of Pierre Gasly, with the final points of the day going to Stroll and Bottas – the Canadian managing to pass the Finn late on to gain an extra place.
After dropping from second to fifth on the grid due to his red flag breach in qualifying, Nico Hulkenberg experienced an anonymous afternoon en route to 15th, behind the lead AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda, having lost out with a stop just before the Safety Car and the Haas team’s general lack of competitiveness on race day.
Zhou Guanyu was 16th in the second of the Alfa Romeo machines, while Magnussen and AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries wound up 17th and 18th respectively after two collisions midway through the race that led to them both running off the track.
Having initially continued after his crash and worked his way back into the points, Russell was later told to retire amid brake worries, with Logan Sargeant the other non-finisher when the Williams rookie was asked to park his car in the early stages.
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:
It was a very interesting race, the most closely balanced so far this season, as can be seen from the results sheet, with four drivers from four different teams all finishing in the space of under 20 seconds. Yesterday’s prediction that a two-stop strategy was the best option was confirmed as the top three all went down this route, even if they each managed it in different ways. However, the one-stop proved to be a valid alternative, as demonstrated by the two Ferrari drivers: Leclerc and Sainz went to over half-distance on the Mediums without any significant degradation in terms of tyre performance, a sign that their car is making progress on the set-up front.
Temperatures were lower today than on Friday and that contributed to reducing the risk of overheating the tyres. Another factor that played an important role in tyre management was the fact the track rubbered in very quickly during the race, even though it was initially very dirty after it had rained for almost all of Saturday.
Personally, it was an honour for me, on behalf of Pirelli, the race’s Title Sponsor, to hand over the winning constructors’ trophy to Adrian Newey, someone who has contributed so much to the history of this team and of our sport and indeed, who continues to do so, on the very day when Red Bull celebrated its 100th win.
How the race was won from the tyre point of view:
Max Verstappen won the 2023 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix. It was his 41st victory, which puts him level with Ayrton Senna in fifth place on the all-time winners list which is headed by Lewis Hamilton on 103.
This was Red Bull’s 100th win from 355 Grand Prix starts. Its first dates back to 19 April 2009 when Sebastian Vettel won in China. Red Bull is the fifth team to have reached a century of wins in a category headed by Ferrari (242), followed by McLaren (183), Mercedes (125) and Williams (114).
Of the top ten finishers, six drivers stopped twice with only four making just the one stop. However, it is worth noting that Perez’s second pit stop, just two laps from the end was carried out purely to allow him to pick up the extra point for setting the fastest race lap.
16 drivers opted to start on the Mediums: three of the remaining four – Perez, Bottas and Magnussen – chose the Hard tyre, while only Gasly preferred to start on the Softs. As expected, the C5 was the least used compound in the race, completing just 12 laps: ten of those were in Gasly’s first stint and two with Perez at the end of the race.
The most used compound was the C3 (70.4% of all laps completed) but a significant number of laps (28.7%) were run on the C4. In terms of stint length, the standout performance came from Albon, who is no stranger to this feat, running 58 laps on a set of Hards. He finished in an impressive seventh place. Leclerc drove the longest stint on Medium tyres doing 39 laps.
The next race takes place at the Red Bull Ring from 30 June to 2 July. The Austrian Grand Prix will be the second round of the season, after the one in Azerbaijan, to be run to the new F1 Sprint format. Qualifying for the main race takes place on Friday afternoon, while track action on Saturday is entirely given over to the Sprint. First, there’s the Sprint Shootout, with the short 24-lap race following later in the afternoon. In Spielberg, drivers will use the same compounds as in Montreal: the C3 as Hard, C4 as Medium and the C5 as Soft. As with all F1 Sprint weekends, each driver will have just 12 sets of dry weather tyres available to them instead of 13.
2023 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix Race Results
|1.||1||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||1:33:58.348||25||195|
|2.||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Aston Martin F1 Team||+9.570s||18||117|
|3.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+14.168s||15||102|
|4.||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||+18.648s||12||54|
|5.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||+21.540s||10||68|
|6.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing||+51.028s||9||126|
|7.||45||Alexander Albon||Thailand||Williams Racing||+60.813s||6||7|
|8.||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||+61.692s||4||29|
|9.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||+64.402s||2||37|
|10.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+64.432s||1||5|
|11.||81||Oscar Piastri||Australia||McLaren Racing||+65.101s||0||5|
|12.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Alpine F1 Team||+65.249s||0||15|
|13.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+68.363s||0||12|
|14.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+73.423s||0||2|
|15.||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Germany||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||0||6|
|16.||24||Zhou Guanyu||China||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||4|
|17.||20||Kevin Magnussen||Denmark||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||0||2|
|18.||21||Nyck De Vries||Netherlands||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||0||0|
|3.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||DNF||0||65|
|20.||2||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||DNF||0||0|
2023 Constructor Standings
|1.||Red Bull Racing||623|
|2.||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team||305|
|4.||Aston Martin F1 Team||221|
|6.||Alpine F1 Team||84|
|7.||Haas F1 Team||12|
|8.||Alfa Romeo Racing||10|