The lead is growing, but it remains exciting. Max Verstappen knows that. Things can change again quickly. The Formula 1 race in Montreal provides some insights. Also about Mercedes and the two German drivers.

Sixth win of the season, clear lead – but be careful. Max Verstappen does not want to be deceived. There are still many races left in this Formula 1 season, a lot can still happen. And the Canadian Grand Prix showed, others were actually faster than the victorious Dutchman in the Red Bull. One of them in time for the home race.

Sainz was faster

Max Verstappen is doing what champions do: He took pole, he drove to victory. But it wasn’t that easy. They were not the fastest in the race, the defending champion and clear world championship leader stressed after his first win in Montreal. “But we still won, that’s also a quality.” Victory number six this season in the ninth race was above all also to his credit. Lap after lap in the closing stages, he had Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari in his rearview mirror with a gap of less than a second. But the Spaniard simply could not get past Verstappen despite the faster Ferrari and the overtaking aid DRS. World champion-like.

Hamilton: “We’re getting closer”

It’s still hopping, but it’s getting faster: with almost childlike enthusiasm, Lewis Hamilton suddenly started talking about his Mercedes again. The hobbling was no longer as bad as in Baku a week ago, and the Silver Arrow was fast, especially with Hamilton at the wheel. 15 years ago, he had managed the first of his now incredible 103 victories in Montreal. Third place now felt similar for the 37-year-old. Hamilton, who has his home race at Silverstone in a fortnight’ time, insisted that Red Bull and Ferrari were a wee bit too fast for Mercedes at the moment. “But we are getting closer.”

Vettel: “The two virtual safety cars broke our neck”

German problems: The result was modest for both. Only the reasons were very different. Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion, complained to Sky after twelfth place in the Aston Martin: “We needed a completely different race. The two virtual safety cars broke our neck and then it was over.” What sometimes seemed promising in Canada ended with another disappointment for the 34-year-old, who otherwise had a public spat with a Canadian politician over environmental issues during the race weekend.

And then there was Mick Schumacher. This time the Haas let him down. He would have been ready to take home the first points of his career in Formula 1. Sixth on the grid, he had never been so good in the premier class. And then this. After the two serious accidents and a lot of criticism against him, he showed strength in qualifying and also in the race, rather he was stopped by the weakening car. But he is building on the positives. His own performance should serve as a points accelerator.

The return to Canada was a complete success: the stands were full, people in the city were living Formula 1 again, as they had been until the race cancellations due to the Corona pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The unsettled weather with rain in qualifying, plus the fast track with long straights, but also tough braking manoeuvres, once again gave the fans a race with a thrill factor.