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2023 Canadian Grand Prix Takeaways

By Jeff Stinger

The 2023 Canadian Grand Prix had motorsport and betting fans on the edge of their seats over the weekend. The skies cleared up for Sunday’s race following a rainy qualifying and an interrupted first practice session. After 70 laps of racing around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Max Verstappen sees the checkered flag first, trailed by Aston Martin’s veteran driver Fernando Alonso, while the improving W14 gets Lewis Hamilton up to P3. All three have a combined 11 World Championships and were a sight to behold on the podium.

After a compelling battle around the track, we go over the winners and losers of this year’s Canadian GP.

Key Takeaways from the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix

Red Bull

Max Verstappen cruised to his second-consecutive Canadian GP, sixth P1 of the 2023 campaign, and Red Bull’s 100th win in Formula 1. They now join Williams, McLaren, and Mercedes in the 100 Club.

The two-time champion looks more and more dominant as the season unfolds. It seems like he no longer feels the pressure of the cars behind him as he matures each race. Despite not having that all-encompassing car we’ve seen all season, the Belgian-Dutch racing driver was able to extract a couple of extra tenths over the pack. He was nearly ten seconds ahead of Alonso. His flawless driving and an even more impressive weekend were just cases of the Dutch driver keeping his cool the entire time. This year is bagged and tagged with Max’s name on it as his focus shifts to records of most wins and most pole positions in a season.

Meanwhile, teammate Sergio Perez unearthed more suggestions from the team that he needs to set aside his World Championship hopes this year and focus on producing better results every race weekend. It’s a good time for him to start setting his priorities straight because Verstappen is already 66 points ahead of him.

Perez is yet to reach Q3 in a machine that achieved pole position in the last three races and his average starting position is behind Alpine’s Esteban Ocon. The Mexican shows us what could happen if you don’t drive a car to its full potential.

Divergence Within Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso matched his best result of the season and ended the day in second place. This was more significant as he needed to lift and coast for much of the race. Aston Martin later revealed that the Spaniard had to nurse an issue in his AMR23. The constructor even revealed that Verstappen would’ve been within striking distance if the unspecified issue did not happen.

Aston Martin’s upgrade worked wonders around the track. However, Alonso’s car issues were beyond his control. A second-place finish stands tall granted the mishap. The two-time world champion still re-passed Lewis Hamilton after he was jumped at the start. Moreover, the victory moves the former Alpine driver closer to second place in the Drivers’ Championship standings.

The contrasting part of the narrative involves Lance Stroll’s underwhelming results. We know he has the car and the resources to make it to the big leagues, but can he keep up with the top dogs? While P16 to P19 is a decent result, we cannot hide the fact that he’s in one of the more dominant cars right now. Team co-owner and father Lawrence Stroll predicted a double-podium for their cars on Sunday, and when your teammate completes half of the job and you can only manage a points finish due to fortunate circumstances around him, questions begin to surface.

Ultimately, Stroll needs to keep things in check in the coming races if he wants to keep his seat.

Albon Gives Williams Its Season-best Finish

Alex Albon is incredibly underrated. The former Red Bull driver did something incredible for Williams over the weekend. If he keeps this up, expect more teams to gain interest in adding him to their driver lineup. The 2023 Canadian GP saw him showcase tire management and defense masterclass. He scored a well-deserved six points and a season-best finish at P7.

Williams delivered their promise of game-changing upgrades. Although only Albon’s car appeared to pick up the benefits throughout practice, he did complete a solid qualifying session around the wet track and an even better result by the end of 70 laps on Sunday.

It appears that the team strategy of Albon running a now familiar long final stint works wonders. The FW45’s outlandish straight-line speed paired with veteran-esque managed his tires well to bag seventh place and improve Williams’s 2023 points from one to seven.

The Fickle Side of Ferrari

It might be bizarre to think that Ferrari was the favorite to dethrone Red Bull this year. But, the Italian constructor proves that it was an overstatement at best. Some say that the weekend was considered a win for the struggling Tifosi, but, a team of this caliber should be gunning for a podium finish at best. That is not the case for the Scuderia all season.

Sainz’s penalty for one of his blocking offenses and the mishandling of Charles Leclerc’s second qualifying stint dropped the duo back to P10 and P11. To come away with fourth and fifth places in its second-best single-race points haul of the campaign wasn’t bad. Nonetheless, we expect more from a team that put pressure on Red Bull early last year.

Given how often this team’s strategies are questionable, Ferrari does deserve credit for making better tactical moves to get its cars up the grid. In recent form, seeing Ferrari play around with different strategies is an indication that their earlier approaches went south, but leaving both cars out under the safety car paid off for gaining ground and an eventual P4 and P5 finish.

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.