Max Verstappen has taken victory in the Canadian Grand Prix following a close late-race battle with Carlos Sainz.
After a Safety Car was called just over 20 laps from the end of the race, Sainz made a pit-stop and looked ready to chase down Verstappen for what would be a debut win in F1.
However, it was Verstappen who held onto the top spot, taking his sixth victory of the season.
Lewis Hamilton completed the podium in third following a strong drive, with Mercedes teammate George Russell fourth and Charles Leclerc working his way up to fifth after starting the race from the back of the field.
Result Race - Canadian
Verstappen takes the lead
Following Saturday's rain-affected running, Sunday's race got underway in dry and sunny conditions, and most drivers opted for the Medium compound, other than a select few on the Hard.
It was a strong start for Verstappen, while Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen went wheel-to-wheel in the battle for fourth, and Esteban Ocon and Russell both got the leap on Mick Schumacher, pushing the Haas driver down from sixth to eighth. Everyone seemed to escape the first lap without major incident, though.
On Lap 3, Sainz overtook Fernando Alonso for second with ease after using his DRS (Drag Reduction System), while Verstappen had opened up a gap of more than two seconds at the front.
However, the Spaniard was not able to stretch out ahead, having reported graining on his front tyre.
Elsewhere, a black and orange flag was shown for Magnussen, calling for the Dane to pit after carrying damage to his front wing. This dropped him right down the pack.
The first pit-stops came on Lap 6. Pierre Gasly – who had slipped down the order early on, seemingly due to an issue – and Sebastian Vettel both pitted for a set of Hard tyres.
Bad weekend continues for Perez
Just eight laps into the race, Sergio Perez was forced to pull off the track after reporting a mechanical issue. This continued what had been a difficult weekend for the Mexican, who crashed out of Saturday's qualifying.
A Virtual Safety Car was called while Perez's RB18 was removed from the circuit, prompting Red Bull to pit Verstappen, and Mercedes also pitted Hamilton. As such, Sainz was promoted into the lead.
Hamilton looked racy following his stop, and got ahead of Ocon in a fight for fifth place, while rookie Zhou Guanyu tried to find a way past Schumacher for seventh.
Further back, Leclerc continued to work his way through the field, and was up to 12th by Lap 14 following an overtake on Lando Norris.
Verstappen was also making moves, having passed Alonso on Lap 15 for second as he looked to chase down Sainz.
But for Leclerc, continuing progress forwards proved difficult, as the Monegasque found himself in traffic amongst the likes of Valtteri Bottas and Alex Albon. He eventually overtook Albon on Lap 18.
A second Virtual Safety Car
On Lap 20, a second Virtual Safety Car was called owing to Schumacher stopping his car at Turn 9 due to mechanical problems; a disappointing turn of events for the German in what had looked like an opportunity for him to score his first points in F1.
Several drivers took the opportunity to pit, including Russell, Ocon, Zhou, Daniel Ricciardo and Norris. This proved particularly beneficial to Russell, but the McLaren drivers suffered slow pit-stops after the team double-stacked the drivers. Norris' stop consequently dropped him to the back of the field.
Elsewhere, Leclerc had worked his way up to seventh by Lap 22, while Verstappen led after Sainz stopped under the VSC. Hamilton also got the leap on former teammate Alonso – who was still yet to pit – for P3.
Alonso eventually headed to the pits on Lap 29 for a set of the Hard tyres, and emerged back on track in P7. Ahead, Leclerc was chasing the two-time World Champion's Alpine teammate Ocon.
The Ferrari driver appeared frustrated as he tried to look for a way past Ocon.
Verstappen reports graining
As the race headed towards its halfway point, Verstappen came on the radio to report: "I feel like I'm really losing tyre grip."
The Dutchman was still eight seconds ahead of Sainz in P2, and the Ferrari man subsequently set the fastest lap as he looked to close the gap to the front.
Further back, a train had built behind Stroll in ninth, with Zhou, Yuki Tsunoda and Ricciardo all following closely behind and struggling to break out.
With Leclerc still unable to pass Ocon, Ferrari suggested following "plan B", to which Leclerc reaffirmed that he could not overtake the Alpine.
Whilst those cars were having traffic issues, Mercedes were enjoying a smooth race. Hamilton continued to run by himself in third, and Russell was similarly distant from others in fourth.
Further frustration for Leclerc
Eventually, on Lap 42, Leclerc came in for a pit-stop to free him from looking at Ocon's rear wing. The stop was a fairly slow one, though, and the extra three seconds put the man from Monaco back on track in 12th place.
Two laps later, Verstappen enjoyed a much smoother stop but emerged behind his former title rival Hamilton, who had been promoted to P2.
This sequence of events left Verstappen expressing his anger on the radio. However, the 2021 World Champion very quickly found a way past Hamilton, and the Briton subsequently made a pit-stop himself.
Russell followed with a visit to the pits. Following this, the order stood as Sainz leading from Verstappen, Hamilton and Russell.
Despite that difficult stop, Leclerc made another move through the field to go up into 10th ahead of Zhou, and a stop from Lance Stroll further promoted the Ferrari driver up to eighth.
Safety Car sparks drama
On Lap 49, Sainz's hopes of getting a pit-stop under a Safety Car came true, with an SC being called due to an incident for Tsunoda.
The stop enabled Sainz to pick up a fresh set of Hard tyres whilst losing little time to Verstappen, who had gone up into the lead.
Several other drivers also visited the pits, including the Alpine duo of Ocon and Alonso, who were double-stacked and emerged in fifth and sixth respectively on new Medium tyres.
The Safety Car came in on Lap 54, and Verstappen led the pack away. Sainz managed to hang on to the Dutchman, but didn't appear close enough to launch a challenge on the man who was once his teammate at Toro Rosso.
However, the Spaniard worked to close the gap, and looked ready to fight for his first win in F1. Behind, teammate Leclerc overtook Alonso for P6.
Verstappen wins the battle
The tense battle between Verstappen and Sainz was the main story of the final laps of the event, as Verstappen continued to look calm in front of his Ferrari rival.
This went right down to the wire, but Verstappen kept his cool and claimed P1 for a sixth time in 2022, further extending his lead at the top of the World Championship standings.
Hamilton and Russell secured third and fourth, with Leclerc fifth.
Behind them, Ocon and Alonso brought home P6 and P7 for Alpine respectively, while Bottas, Zhou and Stroll completed the top 10.
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