F1 debrief: Max Verstappen wins but Ferrari looks quick and Mercedes improves

Max Verstappen victorious in Canada but Ferrari looks fast and Mercedes are improving

The reigning champion may not have everything going forward (Image: Getty)

With six wins from nine races so far, Max Verstappen is trumping a second world title, but that doesn’t say everything – because Ferrari once again had the faster car in Canada.

Carlos Sainz Jr. finished less than a second behind the Red Bull. Without a safety car on lap 49, I think those positions would have been reversed. The Spaniard’s wait for his first F1 win continues, 150 races into his career.

Charles Leclerc started from the back of the grid at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve due to a drivetrain parts swap and luck had not been with the pre-season leader for a full month.

Stuck in the early stages of the race, he was able to put the hammer down after the safety car deployed by Yuki Tsunoda came in and he got past the Alfas and Alpines that had held him up.

Fifth was damage control but Leclerc lost another 15 points to Verstappen. The gap is now 49.

Teammate Sainz was leading and was about to finish on his second set of tires when Tsunoda continued straight after leaving the pits and plowed his AlphaTauri into the barrier. With safety car signs up, Ferrari had no choice but to bring Sainz into the pits for fresh Pirellis. The safety car eliminated the 14-second gap between the leader and second-placed Verstappen.

Verstappen’s rubber was only five race laps old. Sainz was 28 laps down. He would have been a sitting duck. So, with new shoes and swapped positions, Sainz’s challenge was to hunt down the Red Bull on the remaining 16 circuits.

Sainz ran out of time to catch Verstappen (Picture: Getty)

He was close, in the DRS slipstream to the end, but Verstappen never gave him the chance to send him.

“I gave everything,” said Sainz. “I didn’t leave an inch against the walls when braking. I pushed everything with the battery.

“I tried everything to get past Max. The positive thing is that we were faster throughout the race. It was like we needed a bit more here to overtake.”

Without the neutralization, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said it was difficult to know how the race would have gone: “It’s difficult to judge. Max was behind very quickly.

Lewis Hamilton is starting to find some speed (Picture: Getty Images)

“It would have been very close. We even considered whether we should stay on the track or pit, just to protect ourselves from Lewis as well [Hamilton]who also had fresh tires and was very fast behind.’

Ferrari missed Leclerc’s pit stop on lap 42, with a left rear wheel kerfuffle lasting 5.3 seconds. Compare that to a 3.7 for Sainz’s second stop and just 2.4 for Verstappen, it’s clear Ferrari need to improve their game in this area.

Fernando Alonso, hero of Saturday’s wet qualifying – his P2 was the 40-year-old’s first front row start in ten years – also ended in frustration.

Alonso was realistic in that he knew he was fighting the Mercedes and not Verstappen and Sainz. But his hopes of a podium finish were dashed when an air leak in the drive unit emerged on lap 20.

“Until then we were fighting for a podium,” said the 2005 and 2006 world champion. “When the engine problem came I was just trying to survive, trying to get DRS, doing kamikaze in the corners before it was detected, because after that the DRS was my only safety on the straights.”

The stewards took a dim view of this approach, demoting him from seventh to ninth as he struggled to stay ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton was the happiest we’ve seen in a long time, finishing third just a few days after calling his Mercedes ‘undriveable’.

This week, the teams’ technical chiefs will meet with the FIA ​​to try to find a solution to contain the porpoise problem, which affects Mercedes more than other teams.

Max Verstappen victorious in Canada but Ferrari looks fast and Mercedes are improving

Rule changes could see Red Bull lose their early dominance (Image: Getty)

The FIA ​​announced it would intervene over safety concerns, which Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has again lined up against Red Bull’s Christian Horner. Horner has a fast car and doesn’t want his competitors to gain ground through design changes.

“The problem with Mercedes is more serious than with any other car,” noted Horner. “It’s definitely up to the team. Your concept is the issue and not the regulation.

‘They run the car so stiff. We had no problems with jumping. Our drivers have never complained about porpoises.”

Wolff: “The political maneuvering doesn’t get to the heart of this issue. Drivers have spoken about back pain, blurred vision and micro-concussions. We have a responsibility not to take this lightly. We have to tackle whatever the solution is.’

Without naming names, Wolff has described the behavior of certain team bosses as “pathetic” and “insincere.”

I didn’t leave an inch against the walls when braking. I pushed everything.

MORE : Lewis Hamilton wants George Russell to take on the role of Mercedes’ F1 guinea pig

MORE : ‘Right Racing’ – Max Verstappen extends Championship lead after Canadian Grand Prix win

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General Sports F1 debrief: Max Verstappen wins but Ferrari looks quick and Mercedes improves

Nate Jones

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