“Iconic” podium trio enjoy “intense, fair and respectful battle” in Canada

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Formula 1’s three most successful active drivers were full of praise for each other after sharing the podium places in Canada.

Max Verstappen claimed the 41st victory of his career and was flanked on the podium by fellow two-times champion Fernando Alonso, winner of 32 races, and Lewis Hamilton, F1’s most successful driver of all time with seven titles and 103 wins.

While Verstappen led the 70-lap grand prix from start to finish, Alonso and Hamilton gave pursuit, the pair swapping places on the first lap and again later in the race. All three declared themselves satisfied with their race-long scrap.

“It’s good, it’s great, I really enjoy these battles and these podiums,” said Alonso. “It happened in Australia I think last time and now here and there is a lot of respect, a lot of talent.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri, and Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Canadian Grand Prix in pictures
“When you fight against Max, Lewis, you know that you cannot make a mistake because they will take advantage of that and they will not make a mistake. So if you want to beat them, you need to be tenth after tenth faster to close that gap.”

Alonso said they had “a very intense battle, very fair, very respectful.” Hamilton passed him at the start but Alonso was able to reclaim the position later in the race.

“The overtaking possibility that we had on the DRS for me when I passed Lewis, you know that you can trust what he’s doing, he will defend hard but within the limits. Same at the start, I guess, when you’re starting on the first two rows with these guys, you know there is a sense of awareness and respect that is not sometimes in other parts.”

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Lewis Hamilton said the trio make “quite an iconic top three” on the podium. “I agree with Fernando, it’s a privilege to be up here fighting these two who have done incredible in their careers.”

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023
Alonso fought his way past Hamilton
“As Fernando said, there’s a lot of respect between us as we were able to race so closely and trust in one another. So I’m really hoping at some stage we have more a level playing field in our cars then we’ll have a much more exciting race I think in the future.”

Verstappen, who is 13 years young than either of the other two, said “I remember back in the day I was watching these two already in Formula 1 racing each other.

“So, of course, I’m very happy now that I’m in Formula 1 as well and racing them. It’s probably the best thing out there and we can share a podium together, we’ve done it now a few times, I think it’s great. Of course they want to swap positions, I’m happy in the middle at the moment.”

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on ““Iconic” podium trio enjoy “intense, fair and respectful battle” in Canada”

  1. An iconic trio who finished in order of their ability :)

    1. Not sure about that; Lewis is a 7 time champion and already outdone Alonso in a car that was designed around Alonso. Also, Max is in the best car – yes he’s brilliant and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t replace Lewis with his F1 record in the coming years, but he’s not any better than the other two except for age/hunger. I do think Max is the next generation legendary driver, and belongs in the halls of history with Lewis, Senna, Prost, Alonso…Why don’t we speak of Vettel? I think because he was never as good as these guys, it’s clear to see how these guys are a class above.

      I have been lucky to live through the ‘golden era’ of F1 with Senna, Prost, Mansell, and then through the Schumacher years (boring) and then through Alonso, Lewis, Max etc.

  2. Zzzzzzbleurgh(at “iconic”)zzzzz… F1 needs a bit of Will Power

  3. The seething hatred between competitive sportsmen is often hidden beneath the sheen of publicity.

    1. Yes. Often it is…….

      and often it isn’t.

      1. Quite right ;) @cairnsfella

    2. Alonso had some rather different words about Hamilton just a few months ago.

      They know they’re playing a role in the circus, and fair play to them.

  4. Best drivers of the season so far.

    Leclerc and Russell haven’t been that good, Perez, Sainz and Stroll never were.

    1. Russell has been pretty good up until this race weekend. Leclerc has been quite disappointing this season (other than Baku). I honestly can’t see Leclerc stick around for another season at Ferrari.. this is more excruciating to watch than Alonso’s 2014 season or Vettel’s 2020 season with Ferrari.

      1. He would be a great fit for Aston Martin, but i doubt that team is ready to say their goodbyes to Stroll just yet.

        1. Yeah, it massively hurts Aston but they will keep Stroll in that seat. Pity. An Alonso Leclerc combination would definitely seal 2nd or even 1st (given Perez poor performance) in the WCC.

  5. Sainz is the most overrated driver in F1. Leclerc, while very good, is in a close second for most overrated.

    1. Leclerc has just been massively disappointing ever since his crash in France in 2022. He still shows flashes of brilliance.. like he did in Baku this season.. but he went from on all star performer on every race weekend to a driver of occasional brilliance.

      I don’t think Ferrari is the best environment for a driver of his calibre though.. a Red Bull or a Mercedes just seems to get the best out of their drivers.. Ferrari brings out their worst.

  6. waiting for the stats n facts article, but this might be the record for the most wins from the drivers on the podium of a race? (at that time)
    surely beats Valencia 2012

  7. Iconic indeed. Nice to see the best 3 up there. Keep it coming. Lets reverse Alonso and Max next time.

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