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Formula 1: Verstappen wins in the rain in Canada: “Crazy race”

Formula 1: Verstappen wins in the rain in Canada: “Crazy race”

Max Verstappen wins the Formula 1 race in Canada. The world champion fends off all attacks from his rivals. World runner-up Leclerc is lapped and eliminated.

Relieved, Max Verstappen jumped into the arms of his mechanics and enjoyed the hard-fought victory in the weather chaos of Montreal.

“It was a pretty crazy race in which a lot happened. But we stayed calm as a team and managed it well,” said the world champion from the Netherlands and grinned: “That was really a lot of fun.”

With his sixth win of the season, the 26-year-old has further extended his lead in the Formula 1 overall standings. In changeable conditions with two rain showers and safety car phases, Verstappen triumphed, as he did last year at the Canadian Grand Prix. Behind the Red Bull star, Briton Lando Norris took second place in his McLaren. “It was chaos,” said Norris, who couldn’t understand why he hadn’t won: “I drove a good race from start to finish. It was pretty perfect, I actually thought.”

Third place went to pole-sitter George Russell from Mercedes, ahead of teammate and record world champion Lewis Hamilton. Thanks to his 60th career victory, Verstappen now leads the overall standings more comfortably with 56 points ahead of Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari. The Monegasque had to park his car early two weeks after his celebrated victory at his home race and came away empty-handed. Before that, Leclerc was even far behind in last place – partly because his team made a mistake with the choice of tires.

Hülkenberg gambles with the tires

After his surprising pole position, Russell defended his first place on the grid in the rain. With poor visibility due to a lot of spray, Verstappen remained in second place. On the slippery track, the risk of retirement was high at the beginning because the water had to be expelled. The Haas drivers, who were the only ones to start with rain tires, took advantage of this. Nico Hülkenberg quickly moved up from 18th place to eighth, and Kevin Magnussen was even fourth at one point.

After six laps, it got drier. Magnussen quickly changed tires, while Hülkenberg experimented and was the only driver not to put on the intermediate tires. A mistake. The Rhinelander was suddenly second to last and ended up in eleventh place.

At the front, 26-year-old Russell was still a good two seconds ahead of Verstappen, followed by Lando Norris and his team-mate Oscar Piastri. Defending champion and last year’s winner Verstappen drove more aggressively and put Russell under pressure. The lead melted to less than a second, but overtaking was a challenge. Anyone who left the dry, thin asphalt strip risked flying off. When Verstappen made a driving error on the 17th of 70 laps, Norris suddenly moved very close to the world champion.

Norris races to the top – but not for long

Four laps later, Norris overtook Verstappen and soon took the lead. Russell had no chance against the strong McLaren, then missed another corner and had to let Verstappen overtake him. Norris, who celebrated his first career victory in Miami at the beginning of May, drove at an enormous pace and quickly pulled more than eight seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

The fact that it didn’t go any further was due to an accident involving Williams driver Logan Sargeant. The American hit the track barrier after a driving error and the car had to be recovered during a safety car phase. After the tire changes in the leading group, Verstappen was in the lead and held on to his position when the rain started again. Ferrari also gambled with Leclerc, who had no chance on the wet track with dry tires and was even lapped in last place. He was unable to continue on the 43rd lap.

The asphalt dried out again quite quickly after the short shower. With 30 laps still to go, Verstappen took advantage of the small mistakes made by his pursuers to gain more than four seconds. The champion then got dry tires just like Norris and built up his lead again.

But things got hectic again. Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull retired, then a second safety car phase was necessary because Alexander Albon in the second Williams also hit the barrier and was towed away. The race continued with eleven laps to go. Verstappen made no more mistakes and earned the next success on the way to his fourth consecutive world championship title.

Source: Stern

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