George Russell led. Lando Norris, too. It was ultimately Max Verstappen who received the victory trophy at the end of what was undoubtedly the most thrilling race of the season, Sunday, at the Canadian Grand Prix. Quebecer Lance Stroll, at Aston Martin, finished in 7th place – we will come back to that.

Norris, who delivered a spirited race, crossed the finish line 3.8 seconds after Verstappen in his McLaren. And Russell overtook teammate Lewis Hamilton late in the race to take third place on the podium. A crazy and thrilling ride.

Accidents, overtaking, rain and safety cars: things happened in this Grand Prix that five drivers, including the two from Ferrari (!) and Sergio Pérez from Red Bull, did not finish.

For once, victory was not easy to achieve for Verstappen. He had to work a little harder than usual to take his 6th triumph of the season and his 3rd consecutive in Montreal. The champion did not complain, on the contrary.

“I wouldn’t want it to happen too often because it’s stressful, but I had a lot of fun today,” he said.

This result is all the more satisfactory as Red Bull once again experienced a difficult weekend, in continuity with the last three Grands Prix.

Let us venture into the description of this eventful race. It was Russell who started first, followed by Verstappen and Norris, on a wet track; a ranking that changed often within 70 rounds.

On lap 18, Norris approached Verstappen, playing patiently before attacking two laps later. The Briton superbly overtook the Dutchman with the DRS (drag reduction system) in the penultimate straight. Both then overtook Russell in this same sector.

Norris only pulled away from there, eventually building a lead of over 7 seconds over Verstappen. On lap 25, the safety car was called after Williams’ Logan Sargeant went off track. While Verstappen, Russell and Oscar Piastri all pitted, Norris remained on track. He completed one lap too many, dropping him to third.

Norris regained the lead later, during another pit stop from Verstappen, but once again fell behind during his own tire change.

The McLaren driver said he was disappointed, even frustrated, at a press conference. “We should have won today and we didn’t,” he said. He talked about bad decisions made by both him and his team. “A second place is still a good result,” he nevertheless clarified.

For his part, Russell spoke of a “missed opportunity”, even if it was his first podium of the season. “I think I made too many mistakes at key moments, which prevented us from being in the fight with them,” he explained.

A lot happened on Russell’s side at the end of the race. On lap 67, he passed Piastri to move into 4th, before falling behind Hamilton. In his earpiece, his team told him that he could overtake his teammate. “Do it properly,” he was told, to which he respected.

Although Russell would have preferred a victory, Mercedes’ results remain excellent. Both drivers achieved their best ranking of the campaign, which highlights the progress of the English team.

“If you had told us we’d have pole and third place before this weekend, we probably wouldn’t have believed you,” Russell admitted. “I’m happy with the progress we’ve made and I’m proud of the team.”

Are Mercedes back in the constructors’ title race? The question is legitimate, but the Briton remained cautious.

“It’s no secret that Red Bull has had some difficulties with its cars in the last three races, so I think we’ll have to wait and see how they perform in Barcelona (the next Grand Prix), which is a unique circuit. little more conventional. »

“This increase in pace on our part this weekend is not a surprise for us because everyone at the factory had warned us that we would experience good performances with these improvements. Barcelona will be interesting for everyone, but I am confident that we can be in the fight. »

There is still a long way to go for Aston Martin. However, without making too much noise, the team achieved its best performance of the season by grabbing 14 ranking points, courtesy of Fernando Alonso’s sixth place and Lance Stroll’s seventh.

The Spaniard was able to hold on to his starting position, while his teammate gained two places.

Stroll was obviously satisfied to have seen his team collect “a lot of points”, but even more to have held on during the “toughest race in a long time”.

“You had to choose the right tires at the right time, make the right decisions, predict the weather,” he said. And in Montreal, every little mistake penalizes you really quickly. » Despite “very difficult conditions”, “we made it to the end! “, he rejoiced.

Alonso described it as a “lonely” event, especially after he overtook Daniel Ricciardo (RB) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) himself overtook him.

“The cars in front were too fast [for us to catch up with], and there wasn’t much threat behind,” he analyzed. Lewis was very fast, so it was a matter of time before I lost my position. »

The 42-year-old veteran highlighted how difficult the “execution” had been for “all 20 riders on the track,” especially with only one dry lane for much of the race. “I’m surprised nothing happened for so long! “, he exclaimed.