Max Verstappen dominates Canadian Grand Prix to equal Ayrton Senna victories total

Posted at 7:03 AM, Jun 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-19 07:03:50-04

MONTREAL — Max Verstappen put in another dominant performance to win the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, bringing him level with Formula One legend Ayrton Senna’s victory total.

Verstappenled from start to finish to claim his sixth win in eight races – it maintains Red Bull’s 100% winning record this season with Sergio Pérez winning the other two races – and his 41st career victory.

The 25-year-old ties Senna’s career victory total, with the win also being Red Bull’s 100th team victory. It also extends his lead atop this year’s driver’s championship standings to 69 points.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso finished 9.5 seconds behind Verstappen in second place with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton completing the top three.

“Of course, I’m very happy right now. It was not a very straightforward race, because the tires were not really getting in their window,” Verstappen said immediately after the race.

“It was very cold today compared to Friday and we were sliding around quite a bit, but we made it work. To win again [and] win the 100th Grand Prix for the team is incredible.”

He added: “It’s amazing. I never expected to be on these kinds of numbers myself, so we keep enjoying, we keep working hard, but today has been a great day again.”

Verstappen now sits fifth in the all-time F1 winners list tied with the legendary Brazilian driver, behind Alain Prost, Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, and Hamilton who sits atop the standings with 103 race victories.

Despite leading from the first minute at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Verstappen had a multitude of challenges to deal with, including a scary moment as the race neared its finale.

Firstly, on lap 11, Verstappen could be heard telling his team that he had hit a bird. Afterwards, he revealed that the remnants of the bird stayed on his car for the rest of the race.

“It was still stuck on my car when I came in, it didn’t look great,” he told Sky Sports. “I also feel sorry for the mechanic having to remove it.” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports the bird had been lodged in the brake duct of Verstappen’s car.

Later in the race, Verstappen avoided suffering a similar fate to that of Mercedes driver George Russell who, after colliding with the wall off of turn 8/9, was ultimately forced to retire.

Verstappen though was able to just avoid the wall and could be heard laughing about it on the radio to his Red Bull team. “I almost knocked myself out on that curb,” the Dutchman said with five laps between him and victory.

While Verstappen was able to cruise to yet another victory, behind him, Alonso and Hamilton were engaged in their own tussle for second on the podium.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton began a spot behind Alonso on the grid but passed the Spaniard on the first corner of the race.

Hamilton was able to hold off the challenge of 41-year-old Alonso until the safety car brought out by Russell’s crash bunched the two together. After a few laps of pressure, Hamilton was unable to fend off Alonso any longer as the two-time world champion went into second place on lap 23.

Alonso was able to hold on for the remainder of the race, and continue his remarkable season. Afterwards, Alonso called his duel with Hamilton “amazing.”

“I think we were hoping to challenge a little bit more the Red Bull, but we lost a place at the start with Lewis,” he said.

“Then it was a battle with the Mercedes, and Lewis was pushing all the race. I didn’t have one lap where I could relax a little bit, so it was an amazing battle.”

He added: “At the beginning I had a little bit more pace, and at the end I think Lewis had a little bit more pace. It was tough, a very demanding race, all 70 laps of qualifying today.”