F1 Canadian Grand Prix live blog: Max Verstappen on pole looking to extend an already massive lead in World Championship

F1 Canadian Grand Prix live blog: Max Verstappen on pole looking to extend an already massive lead in World Championship

F1 makes its second trip to North America for the 2023 season this weekend with the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. While both Red Bull cars — especially two-time defending champion Max Verstappen — have shown imperious pace this season, Mercedes’ recent upgrades have made the Silver Arrows more formidable and the infamous Montreal weather could set the stage for more competitive racing.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix:

Canadian Grand Prix TV/streaming schedule

All times Eastern

12:30 – 1:55 p.m.: Pre-race show (ABC, ESPN app)
1:55 – 4 p.m.: Canadian Grand Prix (ABC, ESPN app, F1 TV Pro)
1:55 – 4 p.m.: The Grandstand with Daniel Ricciardo and Will Arnett (ESPN2, ESPN app)

Russell brings out safety car

George Russell smacked the wall with his right rear tire and then caught it with his front wing as well exiting Turn 9 while running in fourth place on lap 12, brining out a full safety car. Just a lap before, some of the leaders, including Russell’s Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton were complaining about tire wear and took advantage of the safety car by pitting for the hard tire. Russell resumed the race in P19 after pitting for tires and a new front wing.

Sargeant brings out VSC, retires

On the seventh lap of the grand prix, Williams’ Logan Sargeant stopped on track at Turn 6 and was instructed by the team to shut the car off. That brought out the virtual safety car for two laps as marshals cleared the track of Sargeant’s car.

Hülkenberg, Sainz, Stroll and Tsunoda get grid drops

Nico Hülkenberg’s second career front-row qualifying effort was short-lived. After clocking the second-fastest time in Q3 on Saturday, stewards deemed that he had not slowed sufficiently under a red flag and was given a three-place grid drop. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who had originally qualified P8 will start P11 after stewards determined he impeded Alpine’s Pierre Gasly in Q1, ruining the Frenchman’s final flying lap.

Hometown hero Lance Stroll lost his P13 starting spot for impeding Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and will now begin the Grand Prix from P16. Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was demoted from P16 to P19 on the grid after it was determined he impeded Hülkenberg.

Canadian Grand Prix starting grid

  1. Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT

  2. Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes

  3. Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes

  4. George Russell (63), Mercedes

  5. Nico Hülkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari

  6. Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault

  7. Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes

  8. Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes

  9. Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes

  10. Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari

  11. Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari

  12. Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT

  13. Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari

  14. Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

  15. Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes

  16. Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault

  17. Nyck De Vries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT

  18. Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes

  19. Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT

  20. Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

Verstappen fastest in damp FP3

Free Practice 3 started wet and got wetter. By the end of the session it was Max Verstappen topping the time sheets with a 1:23.106 on the intermediate tire. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was second-fastest, two tenths off the Dutchman and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was third, more than a second behind.

Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz briefly brought out the red flag with a spin and contact with the barriers in Turn 1 midway through the session.

Mercedes tops wet-dry FP2

After Free Practice 1 was mostly wiped out due to a CCTV failure, there was plenty of action in an extended FP2. Alpine continued to have problems as Esteban Ocon was ordered to stop his car early in the session with a suspected water pressure issue — different from the transmission problem his teammate Pierre Gasly suffered on his install lap in FP1.

With about 30 minutes remaining in the session, George Russell posted the quickest lap of 1:13.745 before his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton immediately bested him with a 1:13.718. Then, the rain came pouring down with 10 minutes to go but some adventurous souls — both Aston Martins and Carlos Sainz among them — bolted on intermediate tires to get a jump on what promises to be a wet qualifying session tomorrow.

Multiple issues wipe out FP1

After Pierre Gasly brought out a red flag when he stopped near Turn 8 on an install lap with a gearbox issue, it was discovered that the closed circuit television system was not synched properly. That is a big safety issue as the CCTV enables race control to monitor the whole track, even where marshals can’t be, to deploy local or full-course yellow flags.

The result was a frustrating 50-minute red flag. The FIA made the determination that Free Practice 2 will start 30 minutes earlier — at 4:30 p.m. ET — and run for 90 minutes rather than the usual hour.

Canadian Grand Prix details

Track: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal), 2.17-mile, 14-turn road course
Race length: 70 laps for 190 miles
Lap record: 1:13.078 (Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 2019)
Tire compounds: C3 (Hard), C4 (Medium), C5 (Soft)
Last year’s winner: Max Verstappen, Red Bull

Canadian Grand Prix entry list

Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT
Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT
Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari
Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes
George Russell (63), Mercedes
Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault
Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault
Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes
Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes
Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari
Nico Hulkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari
Nyck De Vries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes
Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes

Top drivers and best bets for the Canadian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen (-275), who won last year’s Canadian Grand Prix from pole en route to his second straight championship, once again enters the weekend as the overwhelming favorite with a negative moneyline at BetMGM. Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate enters the weekend at 5-to-1 after finishing last in 2022 due to a gearbox issue. Lewis Hamilton (+800), who has won seven times on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, is the only other driver that enters the weekend with better than 10-to-1 odds.

Best odds to win
Max Verstappen -275
Sergio Perez +500
Lewis Hamilton +800

Earlier in the week, Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg wrote on some attractive prop bets for the weekend. Bromberg likes Lando Norris to finish in the points (-140), citing the McLaren driver’s strong qualifying effort two weeks ago in Spain. Bromberg is also bullish on Alpine’s Esteban Ocon to finish ahead of teammate Pierre Gasly (-125), something he’s done in the past two races.

Jun 18, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Mclaren driver Lando Norris of United Kingdom exits the pit lane during the qualifying session at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg likes Lando Norris, shown here during a wet qualifying session at the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix to finish in the top 10 this weekend. (Photo by David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports)

Weather for the Canadian Grand Prix

It wouldn’t be a Canadian Grand Prix weekend without at least the threat of rain. The forecast calls for precipitation Friday and Saturday with temperatures in the low 70s. It should be significantly cooler on race day with cloud cover and a 55% chance of rain. Mixed conditions can be the great equalizer, as some areas of the track get more slippery than others and teams weigh how much lap time can be saved on grooved tires vs. slicks.

On the other hand, the two known masters of the rain in Verstappen and Hamilton also enter with the best equipment and would appear likely to start at the front of the grid.

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