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SBNation.com – All Posts: Milestones for Red Bull and Max Verstappen, plus more winners and losers from the Canadian Grand Prix


F1 Grand Prix of Canada
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

How about Alex Albon!

The 2023 Canadian Grand Prix is in the books.

Despite a rainy qualifying session shaking the fireld up somewhat, things were pretty status quo on Sunday. Max Verstappen drove away from the field for his fourth-straight victory, leaving Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton to fight for second place behind him.

In the end, the three former champions shared another podium, with Alonso managing to hold Hamilton off for second place.

Let’s take a look back at the Grand Prix that was in this week’s installment of “Winners and Losers.”

Winner: Max Verstappen

F1 Grand Prix of Canada
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

What else is left to say about Verstappen that has not already been said? He made it look easy on Sunday, en route to his fourth-straight victory. If you want a sense of how dominant Verstappen has been over the past few races, consider this: Dating back to the Miami Grand Prix, Verstappen has now led 223 consecutive laps, which is good for the fifth-longest streak in F1 history:

Verstappen’s ‘223 consecutive laps lap’ streak is currently the 5th longest ever!
(Thanks to @REVERSALx7 for pointing that out)

Will he reach Senna in the next race? #F1 #CanadianGP #CanadaGP pic.twitter.com/EflvnWITtu

— Formula Data Analysis (@FDataAnalysis) June 18, 2023

Verstappen also tied the legendary Ayrton Senna’s mark of 41 career victories. Senna set that mark when he was 33.

Verstappen is just 25:

So @Max33Verstappen equals Ayrton Senna on 41 #F1 wins. Senna started 161 races and Verstappen 171 so pretty comparable. But Ayrton was 33 and Max is just 25… #CanadianGP Photos: @MSI_Images pic.twitter.com/vN9ow7ACCI

— James Allen (@Jamesallenonf1) June 18, 2023

I wrote a few weeks ago that while Verstappen’s dominance might make Sundays a bit boring, we should appreciate the dominance while it lasts. It is impressive to watch. While the RB19 certainly plays a role in things, he is pulling away from the entire field week-after-week … including away from his teammate Sergio Pérez.

Loser: George Russell

Sunday was shaping up to be a great day for Mercedes. With Nico Hülkenberg receiving a three-place grid penalty to drop him from P2 to P5 at the start of the Grand Prix, Hamilton and Russell started in P3 and P4, respectively. That gave them the second row to themselves, and a good chance at pushing ahead of Alonso for their second-straight double podium.

It was not to be, however, as Russell clipped the wall on Lap 12 as a result of driver error, and was forced to rejoin the field in last place:

He was chasing down a podium, but George Russell ended up with a wounded Mercedes after this #CanadianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/XOsVMQvHuZ

— Formula 1 (@F1) June 18, 2023

Russell did a tremendous job after rejoining the field to push back into the points, and was putting a massive amount of pressure on Alex Albon for seventh place. But then the team noticed a brake issue, and Russell was forced to retire.

After the race, Russell was apologetic to the team, and their fans:

One small mistake with big consequences. Sorry to the team – that just shouldn’t happen.

We had good pace this weekend and I’ll make sure I come back stronger! pic.twitter.com/FgEFuQZfo5

— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) June 18, 2023

With Hamilton finishing in third, Mercedes — and Russell — might wonder what could have been.

Winners: Red Bull

F1 Grand Prix of Canada
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Sunday marked the 100th victory for Red Bull in F1.

While they are still well behind Ferrari, who sit atop the all-time victory mark with 242 F1 wins, Red Bull is now just 14 victories behind Williams for fourth on the all-time list. With the way Verstappen and the entire team are performing right now, they could slide into that fourth spot not by the end of the season, as 14 races remain.

That would also make Red Bull the first team in history to sweep the season.

With how they are performing right now, would you bet against them?

Loser: Haas

At the end of Q3 on Saturday, it looked like Haas was on Cloud 9. With a tremendous lap — and a bit of weather-related luck — Nico Hülkenberg finished P2 and was set to start on the front row for the first time since the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix.

But it was not to be.

Race officials summoned the Haas driver for an inquiry into whether he adhered to red flag restrictions when the red flag came out for a brush with the wall from McLaren driver Oscar Piastri. After meeting with the officials, the decision came down, and Hülkenberg was given a three-place grid penalty, dropping him from P2 to P5 at the start.

Hülkenberg gave up a spot on the opening lap to Esteban Ocon, sliding back to sixth. He was falling further through the field, and came into the pits to switch from medium to hards. But the timing of the stop was brutal for the team, as the safety car came out shortly after, giving the other teams the chance to pit under safety car conditions.

That stuck Hülkenberg down at the bottom of the field, and he ended up in 15th.

As for Kevin Magnussen, he was running in the points after the safety car deployed, but he too slowly slid back through the field, and ended up 17th.

It was a bitter pill for the team to swallow, after it looked like, at least for a moment, they might be able to deliver a bit of a shock on Sunday.

Winner Alex Albon

F1 Grand Prix of Canada
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Speaking of shocking results, how about Alex Albon!?

Albon and Williams made a brilliant call on Saturday, switching to the soft tyre compound during tricky conditions in Q2. That was good enough to see the Williams driver to the top of the timing sheets, putting him into Q3.

While Albon failed to post a lap time in Q3 as his initial lap was deleted, he started the day ninth after a penalty handed down to Carlos Sainz Jr. for impeding. The Williams driver fought his way up into P7 midway through the race, and was under attack throughout the rest of the afternoon from a number of drivers, including Russell, Ocon, and more.

Somehow, he was able to hold them all off, due in part to the straight-line speed of his FW45. That gave him his best finish of the season, and six badly-needed points for the team.

It made for quite the moment in Albon’s garage:

What it means to the team

Big shoutout to the team here and back at Grove for the continued hard work. This one’s for you #WeAreWilliams #CanadianGP pic.twitter.com/VDynKv0a8u

— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) June 18, 2023

Winners: Ferrari

How about a little good news for the Scuderia?

Saturday was a wash for the team, as Charles Leclerc failed to advance to Q3, and while Sainz did, he was given a three-place grid penalty for impeding, and started the day in P11. But they decided to begin the Grand Prix on the medium compound, and stayed out during the early safety car for vital track position, which pushed the duo into P4 for Leclerc and P5 for Sainz.

While many teams opted for a two-stop strategy, Ferrari kept Leclerc and Sainz out as long as possible. Both drivers pushed their medium tyres past the halfway point of the race, coming in on Laps 38 for Sainz and Lap 39 for Leclerc, to make the switch to the hard tyres. The duo rode those for the distance, coming across the line with Leclerc in P4, and Sainz in P5.

It was a massive result given the frustration they experienced on Saturday, and perhaps even better, the team believes they have found a bit more consistency in the SF-23 given what they saw Sunday. “Charles and Carlos come away with fourth and fifth places thanks to a great strategy and a car that is at last performing consistently, so that the drivers were able to maintain good pace for the entire race,” noted the team following the Grand Prix.

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