Max Verstappen claims victory over Lando Norris in thrilling Canadian GP

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came out on top in a thrilling Canadian Grand Prix, defeating McLaren’s Lando Norris to victory by 3.8 seconds at the chequered flag.

The Mercedes of George Russell, Norris and Verstappen all led the race at different phases, with Norris losing the lead to Verstappen as a result of the timing of a safety car on lap 25 of 70.

Once out in front, Verstappen avoided a number of potential pitfalls — including a switch from intermediate to slick tires and a second safety car on lap 53 — to take his sixth triumph of the season.

Verstappen said afterwards: “It was a pretty crazy race, a lot of things were happening and we had to keep on top of our calls.

“As a team we did really well today, we remained calm and we pitted at the right time, the safety car worked out nicely for us but even after that we were managing the gaps quite well.

“I love it, that was a lot of fun, those kind of races you need once in a while.”

Meanwhile, Norris stated: “It was [wild]. it was chaos it was eventful to be honest, I felt like I drove a good race, the whole time, from start to finish.

“The first two stints were strong, I had amazing pace, then the safety car had me over, just like it helped me in Miami. It’s now had me back over. Honestly, I thought it was a pretty perfect race from my side, just a bit unlucky but it was good fun overall.

“These conditions were so stressful inside the car but very enjoyable at the same time.”

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Verstappen struggled over Montreal’s aggressive kerbs in the second half of the race, but kept Norris at bay after the second safety car, with Russell dropping to fifth before rallying back to a podium finish in third.

The Red Bull victory gives Verstappen a 56-point lead in the drivers’ championship over Charles Leclerc, who failed to finish the race after an engine issue and disastrous switch to slick tires in the wet convinced Ferrari to retire his car.

The key moment for Verstappen came when Logan Sargeant spun out of the race at Turn Four on lap 25 and caused a safety car.

Norris had taken the lead from Russell three laps earlier on lap 22 and initially built a good lead as the Mercedes driver also fell behind Verstappen.

The safety car period looked as though it would neutralize the race but came just a few moments too late for Norris, who had already passed the pit lane entry and therefore had to pit a lap later than his rivals, dropping him to third.

The track, which had been soaked by rain at the start of the race, started to dry and Russell was the first of the leaders to switch to slick tires on lap 43.

Verstappen made his tire change a lap later and retained his lead while Norris waited until lap 47 and benefitted as a result, coming out just behind the leading Red Bull and ahead of Russell when he took on slick tires.

Russell got back past Norris on lap 49 and looked like he had the potential to close down Verstappen until a mistake at Turn Eight on lap 51 saw him clatter over the kerbs and lose second position back to Norris.

A final twist came on lap 53 when Carlos Sainz in the sole remaining Ferrari spun at Turn Six and collected Alex Albon’s Williams on the exit of the corner.

Albon was left stranded with a damaged car off the circuit, resulting in a second safety car period.

Mercedes seized the opportunity to pit for fresh tires, dropping Russell to fourth behind the McLaren of Oscar Piastri while Russell’s teammate Lewis Hamilton also pitted for fresh tires and remained in fifth.

When racing got back underway, Russell attempted to pass Piastri into the final chicane on lap 63, only to run out of space in the braking zone and cut the final corner.

Russell’s misjudgement also allowed Hamilton through and the seven-time champion then passed Piastri for third, with Russell doing the same, this time successfully, a lap later.

The Mercedes drivers were told they were still free to race and Russell reclaimed his place on the podium with two laps left with a hard but fair pass on Hamilton into the final chicane.

At times during the race, Norris and Russell both appeared to have the pace to win, but ultimately it was Verstappen who took his chances and avoided errors to come out on top.

The next race of the season takes place in two weeks at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.

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