F1: Max Verstappen extends championship lead after Canadian GP win

Canadian F1 Grand Prix

Max Verstappen took his sixth win of the year in Canada (Photo: Getty)

Max Verstappen says he won’t take his huge lead in the standings for granted after winning Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver started from pole in Montreal but came under pressure from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr throughout the race before the safety car was deployed with 21 laps to go.

That meant Sainz Jr. was just behind Verstappen on fresh tires in the closing stages, but the Spaniard tried everything he could, unable to get past the Dutchman thanks to the Red Bull’s superior straight-line speed.

“It was a tough race, I was expecting a bit more pace, but compared to Carlos we seemed to be missing something… It was a bit more difficult than I expected,” said Verstappen afterwards.

“In the last 15, 16 laps we went flat out to the limit and of course I knew that I couldn’t make any mistakes. But it was a good race. It’s always more fun to be able to really accelerate in a Formula 1 car instead of just protecting the tyres.

Canadian F1 Grand Prix

Verstappen held off Carlos Sainz Jr. in the closing stages (Picture: Getty)

“It was just about really pushing the limit and generally not making a mistake, because I knew that if I made a tiny mistake, Carlos would gain a tenth on me and that might have been enough to put me in the first DRS zone to be closer and then in the second.

“It was real racing, real pushing. I had moments where I overdid a bit, then I looked in the mirror and saw Carlos had just as many moments! So, it was really marginal, but that’s good to see.’

Verstappen took the win ahead of Sainz Jr., with Sir Lewis Hamilton completing the podium, while Verstappen’s two main rivals in the Championship endured difficult weekends.

His Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez crashed in qualifying before retiring after just seven laps with an engine failure, while Charles Leclerc started from the back of the grid thanks to drivetrain penalties and eventually finished a respectable but expensive fifth place.

As a result, Verstappen’s gap to second-placed Perez is now a whopping 46 points, meaning that no matter what happens at the next race at Silverstone, the 24-year-old will still lead the championship.

But the reigning world champion is still wary that everything can change, adding: “There’s still a very long way to go [to go].

“I know that the gap is of course quite large, but I also know that it can change very quickly. I mean, in the third race I was 46 behind [Leclerc]so we just have to stay calm, focus and improve because we weren’t the fastest today.”

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General Sports F1: Max Verstappen extends championship lead after Canadian GP win

Nate Jones

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