MONTREAL - On a special day in Canada filled with milestones, Max Verstappen stood on the top step of the podium for the 41st time in his Formula 1 career, after Oracle Red Bull Racing continued its winning ways in the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Verstappen is now tied with Ayrton Senna after picking up his 41st career win. Once again, nobody could challenge the Red Bull driver, but Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) managed to finish on the podium.
For Verstappen to have the same number of wins as Senna, a legend of the sport, made his Montreal victory even sweeter.
"When I was a little kid driving in go-karting, I was dreaming about being a Formula 1 driver and I would have never imagined to win 41 Grands Prix," Verstappen said. "To tie with Ayrton (Senna) is something incredible. And of course, I'm proud of that, but of course, I hope it's not stopping here... I hope that we can keep on winning more races."
Verstappen wasn't the only one celebrating a huge accomplishment as the two-time F1 World Champion also gave Red Bull its 100th win at the pinnacle of motorsport. Team Principal Christian Horner said they would celebrate No. 100 back at the factory as a team, before shifting focus to Red Bull's home race in Austria.
“It’s a landmark day today and one for our history books, 100 victories for the team, 200 for Adrian and Max’s 41st putting him up there with Senna," Horner said. "An amazing result for the whole team, not just the people here, but everyone back at the factory who works so hard, ensuring we continue to perform at such a high level. I remember our first victory in China in 2009 and being happy that we’d won just one race, and here we are with 99 more.
"To get a century of victories is an incredible achievement, competing in 100 races is a feat in itself, but winning 27% of all races we have entered is something truly to be proud of. It’s been an amazing journey in a relatively short space of time and it’s down to our incredible people, our spirit and our culture.
After a somewhat dramatic qualifying with mixed weather conditions and post-qualifying penalties, several drivers lined up out of position. Race control handed down penalties to Nico Hulkenberg (Haas), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri).
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc also failed to make Q3 but made up for it in the race by finishing in fourth.
Notably, Sergio Perez (Red Bull) missed out on a top-10 grid position for the third consecutive race and watched his teammate dominate the race while "Checo" had to settle for sixth place.
Verstappen and Alonso's Aston Martin occupied the front row in identical fashion to last year's Grand Prix. Verstappen managed a good start off the line whereas Alonso suffered a poor start and quickly lost out to Hamilton. However, Alonso completed the overtake on Hamilton on Lap 22.
Ferrari's Strategic Gamble Pays Off
While Lewis Hamilton gave Mercedes a podium finish, his teammate George Russell hit the barrier on his own and brought out the safety car. While most of the field opted to pit under the safety car, Ferrari opted to leave both drivers out. Ferrari's aggressive one-stop strategy decision allowed Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to finish fourth and fifth respectively.
"The feeling with the car was great, we did a good strategy," Leclerc said. "All in all, it was a great management of the race and that is very positive."
Sainz agreed with his teammate that Ferrari could hold their heads high after a solid performance in Montreal.
"We showed that in a different track like Canada, to Barcelona, we are stronger, that the car is working well in the low-speed corners, we had also better deg [tire degradation]," Sainz said. "So yeah, a bit of progress, a bit of an encouraging day for the whole team."
After receiving heavy criticism for a slew of poor strategy calls, the team replaced Inaki Rueda with Ravin Jain as Head of Trackside Strategy at the start of the season.
The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the premier motorsport ranking in the world and it was initially released on Sunday, April 2.
Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which help determine their seeding each week in the 2023 GRID Ranking.
GRID Ranking Week 12 Formula 1 Drivers:
MOST RECENT FINISH
The next FIA Formula 1 World Championship race will take place on Sunday, July 2 at the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Full results from the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix can be found here: