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F1 Canadian GP: Sainz Borders On The Feat Against Verstappen And Alonso Returns To Reality

Victory for the reigning champion in Montreal, after resisting the siege of the Madrid native for 15 laps. Ninth place for Alonso, sanctioned for a maneuver against Bottas.

Giving everything in search of the first victory, brushing the walls, squeezing the battery, pressing to the limit, was not enough for Carlos Sainz, because ahead, less than a second, so close and so far, Max Verstappen was driving, a genius, a unique character, capable of withstanding 15 laps on the edge before crossing the finish line with his fifth World Cup victory.

A fantastic climax to this Canadian GP, ​​where Lewis Hamilton added his second podium of the season and Fernando Alonso, victim of an engine problem, was unable to keep up with the best. After crossing the finish line seventh, a penalty of five seconds would end up relegating him to the ninth final position.

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Dealing with the blissful porpoising, sharpening the knife to hold on to the DRS zone, squeezing the Ferrari to come out with exact hairpin traction, Sainz put in his best. But at each goal step, the pattern repeated itself. Verstappen reached the last corner with a margin of just four tenths. What firmness that of the current champion and what bravery that of the Madrilenian. Until the last lap he saw himself with options, but then everything was lost due to a braking pass in the first sector that made him give up almost half a second. "I tried everything," he admitted over the radio.

It was time for Carlos to silence the criticism with the consistency and regularity that Mattia Binotto dazzled in his day. The extra point of the fastest lap (1: 15.749) represented the best climax to an irreproachable performance, since that third lap in which he devoured Alonso and began to see Verstappen's rear wing up close. The premature appearance of graining would not disturb his spirits, scrambling like a beast behind the leader, while Alonso did quite a lot to stay out of Hamilton's reach.

THE WINDOW THAT CLOSES

If anyone needed one more incentive, Sergio Pérez's engine failure on the ninth lap further stirred up the hornet's nest. Verstappen and Hamilton, hampered by tire degradation, took the opportunity to mount the hard compound. Esteban Ocon was unable to hinder the Briton too much and Alonso was also unable to oppose anything against the Red Bull leader.

"My Intention Is To Play"

"It will not be easy to go to a single stop," predicted Sainz, a Ferrari banner on the afternoon that Charles Leclerc had to be patient. From the penultimate step of the grid, he climbed the steps with clinical neatness. He didn't even lose his cool against notoriously inferior opponents like Nicholas Latifi or Bottas. Sainz's prediction was tempered by the second virtual safety car, triggered by a Mick Schumacher breakage on lap nineteen. 

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While the Haas was being retired, Ferrari had enough time to call their driver. Too bad Alpine lacked a few seconds with Alonso, who was already struggling to maintain a decent pace. He couldn't sneak in through that window and that's where his options ended.

HAMILTON, WITHOUT HESITATION

On this circuit, dotted with very slow sections and long straights, success depended on good traction at the exit of each corner, coupled with top speed. Sainz's car had both virtues, so, having crossed the halfway point of the test, the time sheet began to attest to it. He had been filing the disadvantage below even seven seconds when on lap 44, Red Bull urgently summoned his driver.

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"Why didn't you make sure I was ahead?" Verstappen snorted when he caught sight of Hamilton's slipstream. He did not give the seven-time champion an inch, with the events of Abu Dhabi 2021 still on the surface, although it would be worth little. Mad Max was flying over the asphalt and not even an adverse stroke of fortune was going to upset him.

It was on lap 49 that Yuki Tsunoda crashed into the turn 2 guardrails, making way for the safety car that Ferrari fantasized about. Riccardo Adami, his track engineer, sent a message of encouragement to Sainz: "You were faster than him during the last relay." When the race resumed, with 15 laps to the checkered flag, the Spaniard was riding tires six laps younger.

Alonso, sixth behind Ocon, would soon have to give way to Leclerc. And following Alpine's command, the Spaniard did not bother his partner during the last laps. He was so fair against Bottas that his erratic maneuvers on the straight were penalized late at night by the stewards. The five seconds made him fall two places, behind the Finn and the surprising Guanyu Zhou.

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