Max Verstappen took a comfortable lights-to-flag victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.
As the field left the grid for the formation lap, all of the top 11 starting cars had medium tyres on their car. When the lights went out, Verstappen held onto his lead on the run to turn one, but Hamilton leapt ahead of Alonso to take second place. George Russell maintained his fourth place, while Esteban Ocon took fifth place from Nico Hulkenberg.
When DRS was activated on lap three, none of the top six drivers was with a second of a rival ahead to make use of the overtaking aid. Alonso pushed to put Hamilton under pressure and lightly brushed the wall on the exit of turn four on the fourth lap, but avoided any damage to his Aston Martin.
The Virtual Safety Car was deployed briefly on lap eight when Logan Sargeant pulled off the circuit at turn six with an unspecified car problem, but the race resumed before the lap was complete. Alonso began to put Hamilton under pressure for second place, but could not get close enough to attempt a pass.
On lap 12, an error by Russell at the exit of turn nine saw the Mercedes driver hit the barrier, causing a right-rear puncture and front wing damage. The Safety Car was deployed due to debris on the circuit, with Verstappen, Hamilton and Alonso all immediately pitting for hard tyres. While all three retained their positions, there was a close call between Hamilton and Alonso when the pair were released from their pit box, however the stewards deemed it was not an unsafe release.
The two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr stayed out, moving to fourth and fifth, with Sergio Perez also gaining sixth place by not pitting. After having his damaged assessed, Russell rejoined the race, albeit now 19th and last.
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Verstappen led the field to the restart at the start of lap 17, quickly pulling over a second to Hamilton as Alonso pursued the Mercedes in third. Verstappen immediately set a new fastest lap and pulled over 1.5 seconds to Hamilton by the end of his second tour since the restart.
Alonso renewed pressure on Hamilton and eventually tucked up into the Mercedes’ slipstream on the back straight on lap 22, pulling to the inside and out-braking Hamilton into the final chicane to move up to second place. Hamilton tried to counter-attack along the pit straight but could not fight back, Alonso now secure in second.
Verstappen gradually pulled out a gap to Alonso behind, stretching his lead to five seconds by half-distance in the race. Sainz was the first of the Ferraris to pit at the end of lap 38, rejoining still in fifth place. Team mate Leclerc stopped on the following lap, rejoining still ahead of Sainz in fourth, both Ferraris now on hard tyres.
Hamilton pitted to change to the medium compound on lap 40, with Aston Martin immediately covering the Mercedes on the next lap, but opting for hards instead. Verstappen was the last of the leading trio to make a second stop at the end of lap 42, taking mediums. He rejoined with his lead intact, just over four seconds ahead of Alonso.
With 16 laps remaining, Russell was called into the garage to become the race’s second retirement as he had developed a right-front brake problem that Mercedes were unable to manage. With one Mercedes out, the other began to close the gap to Alonso ahead, however the Aston Martin driver picked up the pace once Hamilton came close to threatening his DRS range and pulled the gap back to over three seconds.
Out front, Verstappen was able to control his pace and edge away from Alonso behind. He completed the remaining laps to take the chequered flag and secure his sixth win of the season and fourth consecutive victory to extend his healthy championship lead even further. Alonso finished 9.5 seconds behind in second place, with Hamilton completing the podium a further four seconds behind.
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The two Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz finished fourth and fifth, with Perez taking sixth place in the second Red Bull. Alexander Albon secured his best ever result for Williams in seventh, ahead of Esteban Ocon in eighth.
Lando Norris crossed the line in ninth but fell out of the points after receiving a five second penalty for unsporting behaviour earlier in the race. That promoted Lance Stroll to ninth place and Valtteri Bottas into the final point in tenth after Stroll won a race to the finish line.
2023 Canadian Grand Prix reaction
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