June 25, 2022

Defending champion Max Verstappen has now won six of nine Grands Prix in the 2022 Formula 1 season, and has 49 points – almost two wins – over his main rival Charles Leclerc.

It’s also now six straight wins for Red Bull, with Sergio Perez’s win at Monaco punctuating a Verstappen streak that began two months ago at Imola.

Is there a chance that Red Bull and Verstappen are now stopped in this title chase?

Here are the thoughts of our editors:

Verstappen drives like a champ every time

Scott Mitchell

Ferrari and Charles Leclerc knew early on that this weekend would be all about damage control. They needed something dramatic not to drop even further in the championship and they didn’t get it.

So now Max Verstappen has almost two complete wins. But forget Ferrari’s troubles – this weekend and the boost he’s giving Verstappen and his championship challenge should be all around him.

In atrocious conditions in qualifying, Verstappen kept his composure and ensured that, when it counted, he was a cut above the rest. Yes, the Red Bull looked great. But Perez put him in the wall. Verstappen put him on pole.

Then in the race, everything revolves around this word: sangfroid. There were a few moments where this grand prix might have eluded him – the first pit stop under the Virtual Safety Car and the late Safety Car which left Carlos Sainz attacking so fiercely for several laps.

Verstappen was unfazed. With good straight-line speed, he knew he would win as long as he didn’t make any mistakes. Simple in principle, difficult to execute. Yet he did it without a single mistake.

A champion weekend.

Red Bull is seasoned, and it shows

Edd Straw

Motor racing Formula 1 World Championship Canadian Grand Prix Race Day Montreal, Canada

What 2022 has shown us so far is that Red Bull are a hardened leader in F1, while Ferrari are still a recovering team up front.

Earlier unreliability issues knocked Leclerc out of the fight for the win in Montreal before the weekend even started, but even then the slow pit stop that left him behind in a line was a mistake that made his recovery much more difficult.

Sainz has done his best, but he still can’t deliver the one-lap pace that Leclerc can and that makes it difficult for him to win races given that Ferrari’s path to victory is usually about securing track position. Saturday and hold on to it rather than coming from behind, as he fought valiantly to do in the latter part of the race.

Ferrari are a strong team, but they’re still a team rebuilding into an F1 powerhouse, so maybe that’s to be expected.

But while the car is fast, it’s hard to see it having the measure of Red Bull over the rest of the season, no matter how good Leclerc is.

It’s way too early to judge

Gary Anderson

Motor racing Formula 1 World Championship Canadian Grand Prix Race Day Montreal, Canada

All is well for Verstappen. However, you can never count your points until the end.

Red Bull has the racing speed, but he and Ferrari are vulnerable in terms of reliability and a few DNFs could very quickly put a big dent in that points advantage.

Leclerc and Sainz suffered in Baku and Perez showed this weekend how thin the margins are with reliability.

But the reality is that you just have to keep your head down and attack each weekend as it unfolds in front of you.

For Verstappen and Leclerc the bottom line is that when you can’t win you have to make the most of every race, like Leclerc did this weekend after starting 19th.

At the end of the season, you can then count the points and whoever has the most points will have a smile on their face.

But it takes a long time before you can really guess who it might be.

It wasn’t too bad of a ‘bad day’ for Ferrari

Mate beer

Motor racing Formula 1 World Championship Canadian Grand Prix Race Day Montreal, Canada

Ferrari leaves Montreal with Leclerc still 15 points behind Verstappen but having lost four points to Red Bull in the constructors’ battle.

Not great, but in the context that both knew from the start that Leclerc would go all the way down and come straight from the miserable and utter disaster of Baku, perhaps a very mildly encouraging result?

The absolute best case for Leclerc was probably third had he been able to clear some DRS lineups quicker and had a smoother pit stop. Even if that had happened, he might not have beaten the Mercedes given his improved race pace. Fifth might actually have been the maximum achievable from 19th.

Best of all was Sainz’s form. Although he didn’t get the victory that Ferrari really needed, he fought against Red Bull in the final laps in a way that was good for the morale of the team, but his in particular. . Afterwards, Sainz said he felt much more confident in the car than he had all year. It’s exactly what he needed and it could be transformative.

Ferrari has little to lose now, and they certainly have no reason to give up hope after a weekend with so many encouraging elements.

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