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Formula 1

Winners and losers from F1's 2024 Canadian Grand Prix

7 min read

Rain, safety cars, strategy gambles, performance fluctuations, a lot of mistakes and an unusually high retirement list - Formula 1’s 2024 Canadian Grand Prix wasn’t pretty, but it was very entertaining.

While it had a pretty predictable winner in the end in championship leader Max Verstappen, a few other teams had a lot to celebrate too - even if some of that might only realise it in hindsight.

Here’s our pick of the day’s stars and flops.

LOSER: FERRARI

Charles Leclerc Ferrari Canadian Grand Prix 2024

If you thought qualifying 11th and 12th would be the nadir of the Monaco GP winners' Canadian hangover you'd be badly mistaken. 

Painful reliability problem? Check. Woeful slick tyre gamble? Check. Lots of contact? Check. A points-costing spin? Check.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz had a miserable Sunday that featured very few bright patches.

Even Sainz's brief run in the points only meant he was on par with Williams and Alpines rather than anywhere close to troubling the top four teams. 

It all allows McLaren to take a big chunk out of Ferrari's advantage for second in the constructors' championship and makes any faint hopes Leclerc might have had of a drivers’ title challenge look like an even longer shot.

No team walks away from Montreal with more head-scratching to do about lost performance than Ferrari and the weekend stands out as a bafflingly bad outlier in a season of so much progress. - Josh Suttill

WINNER: MERCEDES

George Russell Mercedes leads Canadian Grand Prix 2024

George Russell taking pole and leading such a substantial portion of the race yet only finishing third might seem like a case for putting Mercedes on our ‘loser’ list today.

Absolutely…if this was anything from 2014 to 2021.

But it isn’t. This is a season in which Mercedes is miles away from being a title contender and hadn’t even got on the podium before Canada.

In the context of the position it’s usually in these days, just to be in contention for the sort of results it was fighting for in Montreal is hugely encouraging for Mercedes. Which in itself says a lot about its post-2021 life. But Mercedes being toppled is old news now. Maybe this was the start of the recovery narrative instead - or just another false one. - Matt Beer

LOSER: SERGIO PEREZ

Sergio Perez damage Canadian Grand Prix 2024

In Canada Sergio Perez completed the impressive feat of looking even less like a driver who deserves another two years in the championship’s best team than he had in the previous two races.

Out in Q1 (again). Barely above last for most of the race after a first-corner tangle with Pierre Gasly. Eventually out after a solo shunt.

The contrast between Perez limping his mangled car back to the pits while Verstappen headed for victory was a stark one. But not a revelatory one because the gulf between the two Red Bull drivers and Perez’s capacity to have weekends this bad is very well established. And yet not detrimental to his future at the team. - MB

WINNER: MAX VERSTAPPEN

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen took his second win in three grands prix and his sixth of the season in Canada – but it could’ve been a different story.

He tailed Russell for much of the first part of the race and when a dry line formed he seemed to be building up a pass for the lead – but a mistake at Turn 1 cost him three seconds and dropped him into the hands of Lando Norris.

Yet, Verstappen took the opportunity to pit for a new set of intermediates during the first safety car, and took the lead as Norris was forced to do another lap behind the safety car before swapping tyres.

In dry conditions, Verstappen aced the second safety car restart to win by 3.8 seconds and collect 25 points – but things weren’t quite as simple as they seemed for the previously dominant Red Bull driver.

A late-race battle between the McLarens and Mercedes – the latter team having pitted its drivers for new tyres during the second safety car while Verstappen and the McLarens stayed out – played into Verstappen’s hands and helped him to a win that rebuilds his championship lead to 56 points. - Samarth Kanal

LOSER: LOGAN SARGEANT

Logan Sargeant Williams Canadian Grand Prix 2024

It feels like at some point every weekend there’s a Logan Sargeant laptime that deserves an appreciative nod for how it compares to highly-rated Williams team-mate Alex Albon, especially when factoring in any equipment disparity between them.

And it also feels like those momentary bright spots will soon be followed by evidence of why Sargeant is so clearly on his way out of this team and F1 and will probably be lucky if he completes the season before that happens. In this case that was both the error that sent him down a run-off early in the race and his eventual crash out of it.

OK, the much more experienced driver who looks like Sargeant’s most likely 2025 replacement - Sainz - also crashed in Montreal, and he took the other Williams of Alex Albon out with him on a day Albon could’ve scored.

But poor races are very much the exception for Sainz whereas they’re just a norm for Sargeant. - MB

WINNER: ALPINE

A winner on track, Alpine collected three crucial points in Canada to strengthen its lead over Williams and Sauber in the battle for eighth in the constructors’ championship. Pierre Gasly took ninth and Esteban Ocon 10th – but team orders might have caused the team a headache heading into Spain.

Gasly started 15th and Ocon 18th, although Ocon – with the hangover of a five-place grid penalty from Monaco – would have started last if Sauber had not elected for a pitlane start for its drivers.

By the second safety car restart, Ocon was running ninth and Gasly 11th. Ocon passed Yuki Tsunoda and Gasly was promoted into the points when the Japanese driver spun later on. And that’s when things got fraught.

Ocon was told to let Gasly pass so he could attack Daniel Ricciardo ahead, but the outgoing Alpine driver protested. He then relented, asking the team to swap positions back later on, but the team did not comply. It justified its decision by saying Ocon - who made his frustration clear both over the radio and to the media after the race - had a suspected power unit issue that meant the team was more confident about Gasly attacking Ricciardo.

So while Alpine collected valuable points in Canada, it’s also further disillusioned Ocon – who was publicly admonished by team boss Bruno Famin after the intra-team incident in Monaco – and further strained the already fraught relationship between its two drivers. - SK

Loser: Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda RB Canadian Grand Prix 2024

Tsunoda was on a run of three consecutive points-scoring weekends before Canada, and this could have been his fourth.

The RB driver qualified eighth and was running there before the second safety car, but his chase for points quickly unravelled after that.

He nearly collected three cars when he spun with just four laps to go and fell to 15th.

Tsunoda not only had the opportunity to score points but to hold off team-mate Ricciardo, who ended up finishing eighth. 

Fortunately for the team that sits sixth in the constructors’ championship heading to Spain, Ricciardo’s points finish extended its gap to 19 points over Haas behind. - SK

Winner: Aston Martin

Having scored just four points in the last three weekends, sixth and seventh and the resulting 14 points is a welcome boost to Aston Martin's season and it's almost impossible to argue anything more was possible.

The Aston Martin was quite clearly not a match for the top three cars this weekend and the team took full advantage of Ferrari's downturn and Perez's horror show. 

There was no throwing it all away on a no-hoper gamble but a sensible, well-run race from both Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.

Alonso valiantly tried to keep Hamilton behind but being jumped at the first safety car put paid to that while Stroll showed good patience in getting past the RBs to maintain his strong record on home soil. - JS

Loser: Haas

Haas isn’t a stranger to making bold decisions in changeable weather conditions: in the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix, Kevin Magnussen made it from 16th to ninth after a call to pit from intermediates to wets during the formation lap.

With rain pelting the track before the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix, Haas attempted another strategy coup by bucking the trend and fitting Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg with wet tyres rather than intermediates. This paid off as both drivers made it to the top 10 – Magnussen as high as fourth – early in the race.

But as the racing line dried up early on, so did Haas’s chances at a points finish. 

Both of its drivers decided to cut their losses and pit for intermediates, dropping back out of the top 10 and having to make up ground for the rest of the race.

Hulkenberg finished 11th and Magnussen 12th. With five retirements in the field, Haas might have fared better not starting its drivers on wets and just going with the trend. - SK

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