Max added 10 points to his 2019 total with a solid drive to fifth place in the Canadian Grand Prix. Pierre grabbed his fifth points finish of the season with eighth place at the end of a controversial race that saw Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel lose out on victory to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after being handed a five-second time penalty.
When the lights went out for the start, polesitter Vettel made a good start and quickly began to build a lead over Hamilton and Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc.
Pierre also made a good start from fifth on the grid and held the position behind Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo. A little further back, Max, starting on hard tyres, quickly got past McLaren’s Lando Norris at the start, but the rookie got back in front at the end of the lap aided by the greater pace of his soft tyres.
Max was stuck behind the McLaren for the opening laps but on lap seven he closed up and overtook Norris under braking into the final chicane.
Ahead, Pierre pitted, shedding his starting soft tyres for new hards. With the French driver rejoining in P13 Max was elevated to P7 and that soon turned into P6 when Renault pitted Ricciardo to cover Pierre’s stop.
At the end of lap 17, Nico Hulkenberg pitted from P4. With Pierre being held up by Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, the Renault driver was able to get ahead of the Red Bull in the stop and Pierre was shuffled down to P9.
By lap 20, Vettel held a 2.4s lead over Hamilton, with Leclerc three seconds further back. Bottas was now in fourth place but being pursued by Max who was just two seconds behind the Finn. Pierre, meanwhile, was struggling to get past Stroll, who had not pitted, and was losing time to the Renaults ahead.
Race leader Vettel made his pit stop at the end of lap 26, taking on hard tyres. Hamilton made his stop two laps later, and after also taking on hard tyres he emerged four seconds behind Vettel as the German upped the pace. At the end of lap 30 Bottas steered his Mercedes towards the pit lane and his stop for hard tyres promoted Max to fourth place.
Leclerc was then next in, and he emerged behind Max in P4. Still on starting hard tyres, Max offered little resistance when Leclerc made a move and by half distance the order again showed Vettel ahead of Hamilton with Leclerc third ahead of Max.
Hamilton now began to chase down Vettel and by lap 45 the gap between the front pair was just under a second. Further back, Stroll finally made his solitary pit stop, a move that freed Pierre to move into P8.
Vettel was now coming under serious pressure from Hamilton and on lap 48 the Ferrari driver made a mistake into turn 3 and went off track. He managed to keep his lead, but only just as he squeezed Hamilton to the right side of the track on the exit of turn 4.
On lap 49 Max finally made his pit stop. The last man to pit, he took on medium tyres and rejoined in P7. He quickly moved past the Renault’s of Hülkenberg and Ricciardo to rise to P5.
At the front, Hamilton’s pursuit of Vettel was flagging slightly, but the Briton was handed a golden opportunity when the race officials handed Vettel a five-second time penalty for “unsafe re-entry”. The German was furious, claiming that he “had nowhere to go” as he attempted to rejoin, while Hamilton was told to simply stay on the Ferrari’s gearbox in order to claim victory.
For Max and Pierre the race was now a lonely one. Max was secure in fifth place almost a dozen seconds ahead of Ricciardo, but 20s behind Bottas, while Pierre was isolated in eighth, 7.5s behind Hulkenberg and 20s ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz. With a gap back to Max, Bottas pitted in the final laps, taking on soft tyres and claiming the point for fastest lap.
Ahead, as expected, the race ended in controversy as Vettel took the flag ahead of Hamilton but the Briton was promoted to the top step of the podium ahead of the German.
Leclerc took third place ahead of Bottas, while Max took 10 points for fifth place ahead of the Renaults of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg. Pierre took his fifth points finish of the campaign with eighth place. The final points positions were taken by Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.
OUR RACE IN NUMBERS:
88 – Points for Max now in the Drivers’ Championship. He’s P4 in the standings, 12 points behind Vettel.
5 – Points finishes for Pierre this season. He now has 36 world championship points so far this year.
124 –Points in total for the Team in 2019. We are now 48 points behind Ferrari.
Canadian Grand Prix - Race Result Top 10:
1. Lewis Hamilton
2. Sebastian Vettel
3. Charles Leclerc
4. Valtteri Bottas
5. MAX VERSTAPPEN
6. Daniel Ricciardo
7. Niko Hülkenberg
8. PIERRE GASLY
9. Lance Stroll
10. Daniil Kvyat