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Max Verstappen wins 3rd straight Canadian Grand Prix for his 60th Formula 1 victory

Click to play video: 'Start your engines: Montreal’s F1 festivities kick off on Crescent Street'
Start your engines: Montreal’s F1 festivities kick off on Crescent Street
RELATED - Start your engines: Montreal's F1 festivities kick off on Crescent Street – Jun 6, 2024

MONTREAL (AP) — Max Verstappen won the Canadian Grand Prix for the third straight year Sunday for the Red Bull star’s 60th Formula 1 victory and sixth in nine races this season.

Verstappen started second in the rain alongside pole-sitter George Russell and dominated late again at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Ile Notre-Dame. The 26-year-old Dutchman has a staggering 50 victories in the last 75 F1 races.

Verstappen finished 3.879 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris in the 70-lap race on the 2.71-mile (4.36-kilometer) road course. Last year, Verstappen started from the pole and led every lap.

The race Sunday started with a soaking wet track before the sun emerged 10 minutes in, but rain showers returned periodically throughout the afternoon.

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen, of the Netherlands, celebrates after winning the Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 car race, in Montreal, Sunday, June 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen, of the Netherlands, celebrates his win at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on Sunday, June 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

“It’s a lot of fun to drive these kinds of races now and then,” Verstappen said. “You don’t want it all the time because that’s too stressful. But I had a lot of fun out there today.”

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Norris lost a 10-second lead when Logan Sargeant brought put the safety car on Lap 26.

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“We should have won the race today and we didn’t so, frustrating,” Norris said. “We had the pace. We should have won today. It’s as simple as that.”

Mercedes took the third and fourth spots, with Russell third and seven-time Montreal winner Lewis Hamilton fourth. Oscar Piastri was fifth for McLaren, followed by Aston Martin drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, the lone Canadian in the race.

“It was a tough track with the condition, so I’m really satisfied to score points,” Stroll said. “Lots of points, the sixth and seventh positions are really good for the team.”

Winner Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands stands on the podium next to second place McLaren driver Lando Norris, left, of the United Kingdom and third place Mercedes driver George Russell, right, of the United Kingdom at the Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 car race, in Montreal, Sunday, June 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands is sprayed with champagne as he celebrates his victory at the Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 car race, in Montreal, Sunday, June 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Verstappen increased his season lead to 56 points over second-place Charles Leclerc of Ferrari.

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“As a team, we made the right calls today,” said Verstappen, coming off a sixth-place finish in Monaco. “It’s great to have three wins in a row here. I hope I can add more in the future.”

On Lap 46, Norris stayed out while Verstappen and Russell pitted. Verstappen regained the lead three laps later when he squeezed past Norris as the McLaren driver came out of the pit lane. Verstappen hung onto the top spot the rest of the way.

Verstappen managed to avoid hitting a groundhog on Lap 31.

“He was almost dead,” Verstappen said. “I started to get to the last chicane and I thought it was debris initially. So I started to close in and then I’m like, ‘Oh my God, that’s an animal.’ Last year, a bird flew into my car, so I didn’t want to have a groundhog stuck in my car as well.”

Verstappen joined Hamilton and Michael Schumacher as the only drivers to three-peat in Montreal. The three-time season champion is third on the career victory list behind Hamilton (103) and Michael Schumacher (91).

Ferrari had a terrible weekend. Leclerc retired on Lap 43 after gambling with his tire strategy and falling far behind, and Carlos Sainz exited later when he spun out.

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates his victory at the Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 car race, in Montreal, Sunday, June 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

“Just a very weak, disappointing weekend for the whole team,” Sainz said. “We never seemed to find pace.”

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Organizers said 350,000 spectators made the trip to the track over the event’s three days.

Verstappen started second Sunday on a tiebreaker after having the same lap time as Russell in qualifying Saturday. Russell got the pole because he posted the time first.

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