Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the chequered flag at the first Canadian Grand Prix in three years to seal his sixth victory of the 2022 Formula One season and extend his lead in the drivers' championship in an exciting race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The Dutchman started the race from pole position after a fantastic lap in a rain-affected qualifying session on Saturday, which was over six-tenths quicker than Fernando Alonso, who put in a great effort to start on the front row in his Alpine.
Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, started from second last on the grid after a power unit change ahead of qualifying resulted in a grid penalty. Sergio Perez’s shunt into the barrier in the second part of qualifying saw him line up in 13th.
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The first flash point of the Grand Prix came on Lap 8, as Perez’s awful weekend came to a shuddering halt, when the Red Bull driver pulled over on the side of the track with a gearbox issue.
That incident triggered a virtual safety car (VSC), which saw race leader Verstappen pit for a set of hard tyres, whereas Alonso and Carlos Sainz opted to stay out.
That paid dividends for the Red Bull driver, as eight laps later, he overtook Alonso for track position.
Then, on Lap 20, the VSC was back out once again after Mick Schumacher pulled over to the side of the track with a mechanical problem, and that saw race leader Sainz head into the pits. The Spaniard emerged out in P3, crucially ahead of Lewis Hamilton in fourth.
Alonso opted to remain on the medium tyres for 29 laps instead of pitting under both virtual safety cars, and that effectively ruined his chances of achieving a podium. The Alpine driver emerged behind his team-mate Esteban Ocon after his stop and slotted into P7.
Verstappen then pitted from the lead of the race on lap 44, after complaining on the team radio that his harder tyres had come to the end of their operating window. The Dutchman was initially frustrated after emerging behind Hamilton in third place after his stop, but his grievances with his team were short lived, as he got back past the Mercedes driver before the end of the lap.
However, just six laps later, a full safety car was deployed after AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda went into the wall at Turn 1.
That played into Sainz’s hands, as the Ferrari driver effectively had a free pit stop, and emerged right behind the Red Bull.
It meant that we were treated to a 15-lap shootout for the victory between Verstappen and Sainz once the safety car went into the pits at the end of lap 54.
Despite not dropping more than a second behind Verstappen for the final ten laps of the race, Sainz could not make the pass even with the help of DRS, and the Dutchman held on to secure a fantastic victory at the Canadian Grand Prix, just under a second in front of Sainz, who finished second.
Hamilton sealed his second podium finish of the season, and his first since the opening race of the season at Bahrain to round off the top three. Mercedes team-mate George Russell finished fourth.
Despite airing his frustrations with his car on the team radio, Leclerc drove a brilliant recovery race to secure fifth place from second last on the grid. Alonso could not capitalise on his front-row start, as he finished in 7th, one place behind Alpine team-mate Ocon.
Disappointingly for Alonso, he was handed a five-second penalty for his defending against Valtteri Bottas and dropped two places to ninth.


Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, Canadian GP 2022

Image credit: Getty Images

It has been a frustrating weekend for the Ferrari driver, who had to come into the race with the mindset of damage limitation after a 19th place grid start.
Despite not having the car he wanted in terms of grip and traction, the Monegasque driver made up 14 places to finish in a fantastic fifth place. The late safety car definitely helped him, as it allowed him to get past Esteban Ocon - a driver he struggled to overtake for a large portion of the race.
The gap to Max Verstappen in the Championship has increased for Leclerc, but with this drive and the fact that Sergio Perez failed to finish, this was overall a positive race for the Ferrari man.


LAP 8/70 - PEREZ OUT OF THE RACE! - DRAMA! Sergio Perez pulls over on the side of the track and it sounds like he has a gearbox problem! This may lead to a safety car. A bad weekend for the Red Bull driver gets worse.The Virtual Safety Car is deployed to allow the marshals to clear his car.
LAP 16/70 - VERSTAPPEN PASSES ALONSO - Max Verstappen easily gets past Fernando Alonso on the back straight with the help of the DRS, and the Red Bull man now is effectively a pit stop ahead of the Alpine driver after previously boxing under the virtual safety car. Alpine may have to bring their driver in for a tyre change in the coming laps.
LAP 20/70 - VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR! - Mick Schmacher goes straight off at the chicane before the hairpin at the back of the circuit, and it triggers a VSC. A nightmare afternoon for Haas has just got a whole lot worse. Russell acts and comes in to box for hard tyres. That has worked perfectly for him, as he is now in P5, ten seconds behind Lewis Hamilton. After a lap, we are back racing under green flag conditions. Sainz pits two laps later, and crucially, emerges ahead of Lewis Hamilton!
LAP 23/70 - SAINZ IS PAST ALONSO! - Carlos Sainz gets past Fernando Alonso down the back straight with the help of DRS! He is up to P2. Leclerc, meanwhile, makes the overtake of the race so far, after getting past Bottas around the outside into the final chicane! Fantastic manoeuvre.
LAP 44/70 - VERSTAPPEN PITS! - Verstappen reports that his tyres have hit the cliff and Red Bull call him in for a set of hard tyres. He pits from the lead! Sainz now leads the race. However, he is livid, as he comes back out behind Lewis Hamilton! However, the Mercedes driver is not ahead of him long as at the end of the lap, he decides to come in for a new set of hards.
LAP 50/70 - SAFETY CAR! - Safety car deployed! Yuki Tsunoda goes into the barrier at turn 1 and Carlos Sainz has got just what he wanted! The AlphaTauri driver reports he is okay. Sainz opts to pit for a set of hard tyres under the safety car, and this has worked out beautifully for him. He is now right behind Verstappen, who must be livid. This moment will change this race!
LAP 63/70 - VERSTAPPEN LOOKING COMFORTABLE - Sainz cannot get close enough, even with DRS on the straights. Verstappen has a gap of eight-tenths on the Ferrari man, and is pulling out the vital tenths he needs around the circuit, and crucially, before the DRS zone.
LAP 70/70 - VERSTAPPEN WINS THE CANADIAN GRAND PRIX! - What a thrilling last part of the race, which saw Sainz give everything to catch Verstappen, but the Red Bull driver just about holds on to take the chequered flag!

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - GP of Canada 2022

Image credit: Getty Images


LAP 23/70 - LECLERC GETS PAST BOTTAS! - Leclerc makes the overtake of the race so far, after getting past Bottas around the outside into the final chicane! Fantastic manoeuvre.
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