Verstappen equals Senna’s record with Canadian Grand Prix win

MONTREAL, QUEBEC – JUNE 18: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 18, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec.—AFP 

In a commanding display, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen equalled Ayrton Senna’s career record of 41 victories by securing a dominant win at the Canadian Grand Prix. 

This marked Verstappen’s sixth triumph in the last eight races of the season, extending his lead in the championship to a substantial 69 points and also serving as the 100th victory for the Red Bull team.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso showcased his skills by overtaking Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes on the track, securing a hard-fought second-place finish. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who started 11th on the grid, displayed a remarkable recovery to clinch fourth place.

Verstappen’s winning margin of 9.5 seconds was the smallest gap between Red Bull and another team this season, providing hope to the chasing competitors. However, it was evident that the 25-year-old Dutchman did not need to push his limits and could have potentially won by an even larger margin.

Verstappen’s achievement of matching Senna’s career record at a much younger age than the legendary Brazilian underlines the dominant form of both Verstappen and the Red Bull team over the past two seasons. It also raises speculation about the future of Verstappen’s career statistics, as he now sits behind only Alain Prost, Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, and Hamilton in terms of victories. Surpassing Prost’s 51 victories and possibly even Vettel’s 54 wins this season is within reach, depending on the level of Verstappen’s dominance.

Starting from a brilliant pole position in wet conditions, where he was 1.2 seconds faster than the rest of the field, Verstappen converted it into a commanding lead at the first corner and maintained his position throughout the race. Meanwhile, a fierce battle unfolded between Hamilton and Alonso, with the Mercedes driver ultimately being overtaken by the determined Spaniard.

Behind Alonso and Hamilton, the Ferrari duo of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz showcased a strong recovery after a challenging qualifying session. Opting for a one-stop strategy and running a long first stint on medium tires, Ferrari strategically positioned Leclerc to challenge for the final podium position. 

Although Hamilton stepped up his pace to maintain control, Leclerc stayed within range but settled for a respectable fourth place. Sainz crossed the line in fifth, followed by Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull in sixth place.

In the midfield, Alex Albon impressed with a seventh-place finish for Williams, demonstrating the team’s improved performance. Lando Norris of McLaren finished ninth on track but dropped to 13th in the classification due to a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct during his pit entry under the safety car.

As the European summer phase of the season approaches, Verstappen’s dominant form and Red Bull’s strong performance set the stage for an exhilarating battle in the upcoming races.

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