World champion Max Verstappen increased his lead in this year’s Formula One title race on Sunday when he drove his Red Bull to a thrilling victory in a closely-fought Canadian Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old Dutchman controlled a tactical race from pole position through three safety car interventions and resisted intense late pressure from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to win by under a second.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who on Friday declared his car as “undriveable”, came home third for Mercedes to claim his second podium of a difficult season ahead of team-mate George Russell in fourth
It was Verstappen’s first Canadian victory in his 150th career start, his sixth this year and the 26th of his career, hoisting him 46 points clear of his rivals in the championship.
“I was giving it everything,” said Verstappen. “But so was Carlos. He was pushing, charging, pushing, charging. Naturally, it’s easier to charge with DRS! I had fun today.”
Sainz said: “We were quicker, faster all race, but it’s difficult to overtake round here. I’m particularly happy with the race pace and with the pressure we put on Max.”
Hamilton, a record seven-time winner in Montreal, cheered the big crowd part of a weekend attendance of 338,000 and said he was “overwhelmed to get third place. It’s been quite a battle, but we’ve never given up. I’ve been inspired by my crew.”
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who started at the back of the grid after taking a penalty for a new engine, finished fifth ahead of Esteban Ocon of Alpine.
Valtteri Bottas and his Alfa Romeo team-mate Zhou Guanyu were later promoted to seventh and eighth after Fernando Alonso in an Alpine was penalised five seconds for his defending against Bottas.
The Spaniard slipped to ninth with Lance Stroll 10th for Aston Martin.