Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris pose danger to Max Verstappen at Canadian Grand Prix

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc will be confident in Canada following his Monaco Grand Prix victory. Photo: AFP

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc will be confident in Canada following his Monaco Grand Prix victory. Photo: AFP

Published Jun 7, 2024



The Formula One season will make a stop in North America for the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, and it will be business as usual, with every team out to find the most critical pieces within their strategies and cars to complete a puzzle titled “How to stop Red Bull”.

Ferrari and McLaren have so far seemed to be the teams getting closer to solving the equation that has for the past three years seen every team play catch-up, and including Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who despite driving a car with all the tools to win, has failed to match up to his 26-year-old teammate Max Verstappen.

Quietly the Scuderia Ferrari with Charles Leclerc has occupied a solid second position following a win in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Leclerc won his first home race to the cheers of the Monegasque fans in heavy presence at a race that not only got sparks flying on the track, but off it too.

The Circuit de Monaco is known for being one of the most demanding tracks in the F1 calendar, with a lot of tight corners, making it one of the most exciting races without a lot of overtaking.

Three-time world champion Verstappen, winner in the 2023 leg, was not as impressed, as he couldn’t back up last year’s victory.

And with as little as 12 months since crossing the chequered flag in first position, his sixth-place finish in yet another frustrating weekend this season had the defending champion feeling that the race was “quite boring”.

Red Bull have shown signs of losing grip on their dominance, and heading into the Canadian GP, Verstappen’s title is under serious threat for the first time in three years.

It is not only on the track that teams such as McLaren and Ferrari can now stand their ground and go toe-to-toe with a Red Bull team that for so long left them with a lot of seconds to make up.

But their backroom issues spiralling out of control before the season even got underway has left a deep crack within the Red Bull organisation – and they have struggled to close it down, with their season continuously on a down slope.

The loss of Adrian Newey could be the beginning of many losses to come for the Milton Keynes-based Red Bull, who hold a slender 24-point lead in the Constructors Championship.

McLaren more than Ferrari have had a decent few weeks, and this weekend could be a telling one – with not only more opportunities for overtaking, but also the first of many traditional race tracks to follow, with the season moving on from a start filled with plenty of street circuits.

Verstappen crossed the line ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton respectively the last time out in Canada, and with full potential to take the torch from the pair of former world champions after they retire, it is the pairing of Lando Norris and Leclerc that pose immediate danger.

— Formula 1 (@F1) June 6, 2024

Leclerc’s home win has moved him 31 points closer to Verstappen, and as things continue to even up with every race, the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve could be one more piece closer to finishing the puzzle – with the ever-improving Norris continuing to squeeze everything out of a McLaren car making giant strides towards the top.