Russell and Norris lead Canadian GP but Verstappen wins it


Max Verstappen won the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix amid changeable circumstances as Lando Norris and Polesiter George Russell completed the podium – while Ferrari and Williams suffered double retirements.

Rain led all of the Bar Haas team to start the race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on medium tyres. Russell Verstappen drove wide and the Red Bull driver tracked the Mercedes as a dry line formed on the track.

Russell had a brief respite on lap 17 of 70 when Verstappen spun out at Turn 1, but that gave Norris the chance to close out the battle for the lead.

DRS was activated immediately after Verstappen's error, and on lap 20 Norris passed him for second place just before the final turn; The McLaren driver made a similar move on Russell to take the lead one lap later.

However, Russell went off the track at the final corner and rejoined in front of Verstappen, who took the opportunity to pass him for second place.

Verstappen rides safety car fortune

The track had dried out significantly by lap 25 and the field's intermediate tires needed to be changed. With more rain on the horizon, the teams had a decision to make – and it was Williams' Logan Sargeant who prompted that decision when he slid off the track.

Verstappen stopped immediately – followed by a train of rivals including Russell, who almost took pole position in the pit lane – but Norris missed the chance to change his tires because he had already passed the pit lane. He picked up the safety car and his 30-second lead quickly began to erode. After a stop on the next lap, Norris emerged in third place.

“What goes around comes around,” said Verstappen's race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiasi, pointing to the McLaren driver's good fortune from his safety car timing in Miami.

Norris fights back during wet and dry crossovers

When Pierre Gasly pitted for slick hard tires on lap 41, he watched the rest of the field intently. Lewis Hamilton, who was trailing McLaren in fifth, elected to pit in search of slick spots on lap 44. This exchange apparently came one lap early as Oscar Piastri pitted after Hamilton and emerged into the lead.

More importantly, Verstappen and Russell entered first and second on lap 46, while Norris remained outside third. Norris had the advantage on the medium tires and entered the pits two laps later, but lost time getting in and out of the wet pits, and also lost more time on the cold slicks when passing Verstappen.

But Norris took advantage of Russell's mistake a few laps later to move into second place, five seconds behind Verstappen.

Shortly afterwards, Sergio Pérez crashed at Turn 6 and retired in the pits; Carlos Sainz slid and collected points from rival Alex Albon, bringing out the second safety car – and causing Ferrari and Williams to retire for the second time.

McLaren and Mercedes battle for the podium

Mercedes opted to use soft tires for its drivers during the second safety car, with Russell now on the medium tires and Hamilton now on the hard tires, but Verstappen and the McLaren team remained off the track.

The championship leader successfully restarted on lap 59 and went on to win by 3.8 seconds.

Meanwhile Norris found himself leading the DRS train with Piastri, Russell and then Hamilton behind him. Russell arrived at Piastri late but was unable to pass the Australian for third place, causing a tire collision and losing his place to team-mate Hamilton at the final corner.

As the fastest driver on track, Hamilton passed Piastri on lap 66. The battle was not over: a few laps later, Russell put pressure on the inside of the seven-time champion at the final turn.

Hamilton got back to Russell on the final lap but lost out on the final podium place by 0.6 seconds, while Norris held on to second place over Russell by just under half a second.

Despite his third-place finish, polesitter Russell apologized on team radio in the cool-down lap.

Problems for Ferrari

Leclerc, who initially reported engine problems, ran during the first safety car for a successful engine overhaul – but with the hard tires replaced. The rest of the field was in intermediate condition when the race resumed on lap 30.

The rain started to fall again and the Monaco Grand Prix winner was lapping at least 18 seconds slower than leader Verstappen. Leclerc was asked to hold out for two laps, but cut his losses and moved up to second shortly after. Leclerc found himself boxed in by Verstappen just after halfway, which cost him more time.

Leclerc was asked to stop the car on lap 43. This turned into a double retirement for Ferrari when Sainz later crashed to bring out the second safety car.

As for Williams, Albon made a dramatic double overtake on Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon on lap 31, but Sainz caught him in that late-race incident, making it a double retirement for the team rather than finishing the race in the points.

Aston Martin collected the points with Fernando Alonso in sixth and home driver Lance Stroll in seventh, ahead of RB's Ricciardo.

The Alps pulled off a coup when Gasly's stop paid off in ninth – Esteban Ocon avoided the crash to finish 10th despite a five-place penalty that forced him to start 18th, although a late order to switch positions so Gasly could attack Ricciardo Causing more interference – team anxiety.

Haas's charge was short-lived

Haas quickly entered the top 10 at the start after opting to pit Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg on wet tires from 14th and 17th respectively. But when the track started to dry, both slowed and fell out of the top ten when switching to the intermediate compounds.

Hulkenberg ended up in 11th and Magnussen in 12th, ahead of Sauber's Valtteri Bottas – who started with teammate Zhu Guanyu from the pitlane.

But Cho suffered another slow stop late in the race and finished 15th behind RB driver Tsunoda. Tsunoda took off late in the race and nearly collected Magnussen.



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