Reigning champion Max Verstappen has now won six of the nine grands prix of the 2022 Formula 1 season, and is 49 points, almost two wins, ahead of main title rival Charles Leclerc.
It’s now six wins in a row for Red Bull too, with Sergio Perez’s victory in Monaco as the punctuation in a Verstappen run that began two months ago at Imola.
Is there any chance that Red Bull and Verstappen will stop now in this title race?
Here are our writers’ thoughts:
Verstappen drives like a champion every time
Ferrari and Charles Leclerc knew from the start that this weekend would be about damage limitation. They needed something dramatic to not fall further back in the championship and they didn’t get it.
So now Max Verstappen is almost two complete wins ahead. But forget about Ferrari’s problems: this weekend and the boost it gives Verstappen and his challenge for the championship should be all about him.
In atrocious conditions in qualifying, Verstappen kept his composure and made sure he was above the rest when it counted. Yes, the Red Bull looked great. But Pérez put it on the wall. Verstappen put him on pole.
Then, in the race, it’s all about that word again: composure. There were a couple of moments where this Grand Prix could have disappeared: the early pit stop under the virtual safety car and the late safety car that allowed Carlos Sainz to attack so fiercely for several laps.
Verstappen was unflappable. With good straight line speed, he knew he would win as long as he didn’t make a mistake. Simple in principle, difficult to execute. However, he did it without a single mistake.
The weekend of a champion.
Red Bull is battle-hardened, and it shows
What 2022 so far has shown us is that Red Bull is a battle-hardened F1 favourite, while Ferrari remains a team re-establishing itself at the front.
Previous unreliability issues eliminated Leclerc from contention for the win in Montreal even before the weekend started, but even then the slow pit stop that left him behind a queue of traffic was a mistake he made. make his recovery much more difficult.
Sainz gave his best but still can’t get the single lap pace that Leclerc can and that makes it difficult for him to win races given that Ferrari’s route to victory is usually to secure track position on Saturday and hold it in place. to come from behind, as he valiantly fought to do in the final part of the race.
Ferrari is a strong team, but it is still one rebuilding itself to become an F1 powerhouse, so perhaps this is to be expected.
But while the car is fast, it’s hard to see it having Red Bull’s measure over the rest of the season as a result, no matter how good Leclerc is.
It’s too early to judge this
Everything looks good for Verstappen. However, you can never count your points until the end.
Red Bull has the race speed but both he and Ferrari are vulnerable with reliability and a couple of DNFs could very quickly put a big hole in that points lead.
Leclerc and Sainz suffered in Baku and Pérez showed this weekend how fine 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 both Verstappen and Leclerc, the vital thing is that when you can’t win you have to make the most of every race, as Leclerc did this weekend after starting 19th.
At the end of the season, you can 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 come to grips with who that could be.
This was not a bad day for Ferrari
Ferrari leaves Montreal with Leclerc a further 15 points clear of Verstappen, but has cut Red Bull by four points in the constructors’ battle.
Not great, but in the context of both knowing from the start that Leclerc would start from the back and come straight from the miserable, utter disaster of Baku, perhaps a bit of an encouraging result?
The absolute best case for Leclerc was probably third if he had been able to clear some DRS queues quicker and had a smoother pit stop. Even if that had happened, he may not have overtaken the Mercedes due to his better race pace. The fifth actually might have been the most achievable since the 19th.
Best of all was Sainz’s form. While he didn’t get the victory Ferrari really needed, he took the fight to Red Bull in the closing laps in a way that was good for team morale, but his own in particular. Sainz subsequently spoke of feeling much more confident in the car than he had all year. That’s exactly what he needed and it could be transformative.
Ferrari doesn’t have much to lose now, and certainly no reason to give up hope after such an encouraging weekend.