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Verstappen cruises in Montreal to match Senna and give Red Bull 100th win

MONTREAL (AFP) – World champion Max Verstappen drew alongside Ayrton Senna in the Formula One record books with his 41st victory on Sunday when he drove his Red Bull to a flawless triumph at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old defending double champion and series leader led from lights to flag as he came home 9.570 seconds ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso with Lewis Hamilton finishing third for Mercedes for his team’s 100th F1 win.

It was Verstappen’s second win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, his sixth in eight races this year and his 41st overall, leaving him behind only four-time champions Alain Prost (51) and Sebatian Vettel (53), seven-time champions Michael Schumacher (91) and Hamilton (103).

“It’s amazing to get the team’s 100th win here. I never expected to be on these kind of numbers for myself so we have to just keep enjoying it and working hard, but this is a great day for us,” said Verstappen.For Red Bull, this comprehensive victory was their eighth this year and 10th in succession – statistics that make the prospect of an invincible season appear ever more likely.

Alonso’s podium was his sixth of the season as he continued to deliver competitive and revived form, aged 41.

Team Red Bull, including drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez celebrate the team’s 100th race win. PHOTO: AP

Alonso said he was managing a brake issue at the end of the race.

“We hoped to challenge a bit more, but we lost a place to Lewis at the start and then battled all race. It was like 70 qualifying laps,” he said.

Hamilton said: “It’s been a great weekend here for us and we are chipping away and making progress. It’s an honour to be here on the podium with these two world champions.”

Charles Leclerc came home fourth ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull with Alex Albon taking an excellent seventh in his revamped Williams.

Esteban Ocon was eighth for Alpine ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris, who dropped to 13th with a five-second time penalty, and local hero Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin.

Perez recorded the fastest lap of the race to take a bonus point, but is now 69 points behind his team-mate in the drivers title race.

After Saturday’s rain-swept qualifying, the race began in warm sunshine with Verstappen and Hamilton enjoying perfect starts, the Mercedes man firing past Alonso to take second.

The Aston Martin pushed to recover, holding off Russell, but by lap five Verstappen was 1.8 seconds clear of Hamilton with Alonso 2.7 adrift in third, having banged the wall at Turn Four.

Russell was fourth ahead of Ocon and Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg, who started fifth, before a Virtual Safety Car was deployed when Logan Sargeant pulled up and retired his Williams.

Hulkenberg made an early pit-stop after 12 laps, shortly before Russell smacked the wall at the exit of the chicane at Turn Nine causing a full Safety Car deployment on lap 13.

Russell limped back to the Mercedes pits for a new front wing and fresh tyres, the leaders all having dived in to switch to hard rubber, Hamilton and Alonso almost colliding as they exited their pits.

Racing resumed on lap 16, the leading trio scrapping immediately without positional changes before Verstappen pulled clear.

The Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz had worked through to fourth and fifth, on mediums, ahead of Perez, but they struggled for outright pace.

On lap 23, having stalked his foe, Alonso attacked and passed Hamilton with the aid of Drag Reduction System (DRS) going into the final chicane.

Russell, from last, fought back to eighth before he retired on lap 55.

“I’m so sorry everyone,” said Russell. “Nothing more to say. Sorry.”

Perez pitted from sixth after 40 laps, taking mediums, but was unable to make an impression on the top five and chose a late burst on softs to take fastest lap.

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