Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have expanded their sporting portfolio by investing in Formula One team Alpine Racing.

The Hollywood stars and co-owners of Wrexham are part of a 200million dollar (approximately £157million) investment, representing a 24 per cent stake in the team, who sit fifth in the constructors’ championship.

Reynolds’ Maximum Effort production company has teamed up with Otro Capital and RedBird Capital Partners, with fellow actor Michael B. Jordan also among the investors.

Reynolds and McElhenney have earned widespread praise for their approach to Wrexham, frequently attending games and promoting the whole town.

The news was announced by Alpine’s parent company Renault, and James Toney, co-founder of Maximum Effort Investments with Reynolds, said on renaultgroup.com: “Maximum Effort Investments focuses on unlocking value through the power of storytelling, and we believe there is tremendous untapped potential in Alpine Racing.

“We are eager to help shine a light on this incredible team. We’re thankful to our partners at Otro Capital and RedBird Capital Partners and look forward to diving in with them, as well as our co-investors Michael B. Jordan and Rob McElhenney.”

Since the Renault team was rebranded as Alpine in 2021, they have managed one victory and three podium finishes, with Esteban Ocon coming third in Monaco this season.

Ocon currently sits ninth in the drivers’ championship, with his team-mate Pierre Gasly one place further back.

Starting a race weekend as championship-leading driver is never a bad thing, but doing so carries extra weight. However, there is also added pressure when a driver, who holds himself to high regard, has to make up grounds to deliver a championship win.

That's the situation Jamaica's karting sensation Alex Powell is in, as he heads into the business end of the season in pole position in the five-race Champions of the Future (COTF) series, but at the same time, is someway off the lead in the more illustrious four-round FIA Karting European Championship.

Still, Powell welcomes the challenge that both events present as part of his growth process in a budding career that could see him transition to the Formula 4 ranks next year.

"I want to win both the Champions of the Future and the European Championships, so I will do everything I possibly can to achieve that feat. I have been a little lacking in some cases, particularly where race pace is concerned, but I am confident with the direction that we are working in and we will be working very hard over these next few weeks," Powell told SportsMax.tv from his base in Italy.

The American-born driver's declaration came while he reflected on the second and third place finishes in the third round of both events, in the OK category, on separate weekends in Rodby, Denmark.

In the COTF series, Powell was beaten by Italian Gabriel Gomez, with Great Britain's Kean Nakamura-Berta in third. Despite placing second, Powell moved to the top of the series standings 24 points ahead of rivals with two more rounds to come at Cremona and Franciacorta, both in Italy on July 12-15 and September 13-16, respectively.

"Champions of the Future was quite a successful event in terms of consistency, as I was in the top five from the qualifying heats all the way through to the final. Unfortunately, in the final, we missed out as we were lacking a bit in pace. 

"But it is good to be atop the overall standings with a fairly good lead and so the aim is to maintain that over the next two rounds. It comes with some amount of pressure because you have to ensure that you drive the best race possible for those two rounds," Powell said.

Just this past weekend, the 15-year-old Mercedes-Benz AMG F1 protégé, again showed good speed through the rounds, but faltered at the backend of the 21-lap final in European Championship action. He placed behind Dutchman Rene Lammers and Gomez.

"The weekend started off poorly as qualifying didn't go to plan so we had to completely change the kart and it did work for us to an extent because I won all three of my heats, but that race speed was missing in the latter stages of the final. It was a bit frustrating, but we did the best we could, and we just have to try to improve going forward," the Prema Racing representative shared.

Though he is 43 points off Lammers, who heads the European Championships on 208 points, Powell on 165 points, admits overhauling the leader will be tough but is by no means impossible. Gomez (202 points) currently occupies second position.

"I'm not saying that it is over but I'm going to need a really big points haul or some mishap for the first two for me to win the overall championship. But it is important that we stay positive, there are 81 points available and I'm 43 behind so with a perfect weekend we can overturn it," Powell, a cousin to former 100m World record holder Asafa Powell, said.

"We were in a similar position last year and just missed out on it so I'm not giving up and I will be giving it my all. All or nothing for the last round," he added.

With that last round of the European Championship scheduled July 27-30 in Italy, Powell pointed out that he will be putting in the necessary work, physically, mentally and otherwise in an attempt to once again prove his class.

In last year's championships, Powell won the last round but just missed out on being crowned European champion by a mere two points.

"We basically have a month to prepare, I'm actually off to Sarno, Italy for a race in Kz2 (shifter karts) in preparation for the last round of the European champions for that category which is the first week of July. So though its two different categories, it will serve as a preparation race and could be a good indicator of what I need to work on in terms of race strategy," he explained.

"Because we are going to need a very good last round but until then, we will have to focus on ourselves and do the best that we can and then hopefully we will be in the best possible position to challenge," Powell ended.

 

Fraser McConnell kicked off the 2023/24 NitroCross season in sensational fashion, securing a resounding victory in the first event held at the MidAmerica Outdoor complex in Oklahoma on June 16 and 17.

The Jamaican driver showcased his skill and determination, leaving his competitors in the dust and setting the tone for an exciting season ahead.

From the onset, McConnell demonstrated his prowess by topping the charts in the Timed Practice, proving that he was a force to be reckoned with. However, despite his exceptional performance, he narrowly missed out on the Top Qualifier title, losing to his childhood hero, Travis Pastrana, by a fraction of a second.

Undeterred by the near miss, McConnell continued to display his strength throughout the event. A second-place finish in the Battles Final further solidified his position as a frontrunner. He then went on to secure victory in his heat race, earning him the coveted pole position for the Final.

As the final race began, McConnell surged forward, seizing the lead from the start and never relinquishing it. The competition proved intense, with his teammate and reigning champion, Robin Larson, challenging him in the opening corner.

Additionally, World Rally icon Kris Meeke provided a late challenge, but McConnell remained composed and focused, crossing the finish line with a commanding win in the season opener.

To add to the excitement of his triumph, McConnell was presented with the first-place trophy by none other than UFC's Dana White, who heads a group of investors that recently acquired the NitroCross brand.

The victory not only marked a perfect start to the new season for McConnell but also showcased his talent and the exceptional teamwork behind his success.

Reflecting on his triumph, an elated McConnell expressed gratitude to his team and sponsors for their unwavering support. "This win in Oklahoma has been a perfect start to this new season. The track was incredibly challenging but fun to drive, and very exciting for the spectators," he remarked.

Following the season opener, McConnell now leads the 10-event championship with an impressive 76 points, holding an 11-point advantage over Kevin Eriksson and a 12-point lead over Robin Larson.

Looking ahead, McConnell is set to compete in Sardinia, Italy on July 8-9 as part of Sir Lewis Hamilton's X44 Vida Carbon Racing Team. Fans eagerly anticipate seeing McConnell's skills on display once again as he continues his quest for championship glory. The next NitroCross event will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 18-19, promising more thrilling action and fierce competition on the track.

Max Verstappen must be considered among the greatest drivers in Formula One history, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said, following the Dutchman’s landmark win at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s emphatic lights-to-flag victory on Sunday was the 41st of his career, putting him level with triple world champion Ayrton Senna.

Only Lewis Hamilton (103 victories), Michael Schumacher (91), Sebastian Vettel (53) and Alain Prost (51) have won more races than Verstappen, who is still only 25.

Verstappen, who started from pole in Montreal following a fine display in Saturday’s wet-dry-wet qualifying session, has triumphed at six of the opening eight rounds this year to open up a commanding 69-point championship lead. Fernando Alonso finished second for Aston Martin with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton third.

“What we are witnessing with Max is the emergence of another mega talent,” said Horner.

“You can start talking about him in the same sentence as the greats now after he matched Ayrton Senna.

“I thought the podium today was very apt actually, in terms of the last couple of decades of Formula One, with Max, Fernando and Lewis up there.

“Max just keeps delivering at such a high level. The race was fantastic but to take pole position in conditions that were continually changing, and his ability to adapt to whatever grip level he had, was Max at his best.”

Verstappen has won four consecutive races and 15 of the last 19 in F1. Red Bull also remain unbeaten this year, and there remains a distinct possibility that the team from Milton Keynes could make history by winning every race in a single campaign.

Hamilton recorded his second consecutive podium finish in his revamped Mercedes machine, but despite the Silver Arrows’ upturn in form, and with 14 rounds still remaining, the seven-time world champion believes Red Bull could complete a perfect campaign.

“I know what I am faced with and there is nothing I can do about Red Bull’s amazing performance,” said Hamilton.

“It is likely that they will win every race this year unless the Aston Martins and us can provide a lot more performance or if their car doesn’t finish.

“It is not a frustration. We have got work to do and I am happy to be back in the mix and I am just hoping that at some stage we are level so we can get back to some of the good races we had in 2021.”

Max Verstappen completed another crushing performance in Canada on Sunday to match Ayrton Senna’s tally of 41 victories – and then promised to keep the good times rolling.

A day after taking pole position in the wet, Verstappen reigned supreme in the dry at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to beat Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton and move into joint fifth in the pantheon of Formula One winners.

Even an early collision with a bird could not stop the flying Dutchman, with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealing that his star driver completed the majority of Sunday’s 70-lap race with part of the animal lodged in his brake duct.

Verstappen will not celebrate his 26th birthday until September, but his sixth victory from the opening eight fixtures of the year leaves only Hamilton (103), Michael Schumacher (91), Sebastian Vettel (53) and Alain Prost (51) ahead of him in the record books.

“When I was a little kid driving go karts, I was dreaming about being an F1 driver and I would never had imagined I would win 41 grands prix,” said Verstappen, who also notched up Red Bull’s 100th victory in the sport.

“To tie with Ayrton is incredible and I am proud of that but I hope it doesn’t stop here. I hope we keep on winning more races.

“It is also a great achievement for the team. We knew this was the first opportunity to win 100 races. I am happy that is done, but I hope we will win more than 100 so the new target is 200.”

Remarkably, Verstappen has won 15 of the last 19 races in F1, with Red Bull failing to taste victory on just one occasion in that streak.

Red Bull could yet become the first team to win every race in a single season. And with Verstappen at the wheel – rather than team-mate Sergio Perez who finished only sixth on another trying weekend for the Mexican – they have every chance.

Verstappen’s triumph – his fourth in succession – was all but sealed on the short dash to the opening chicane after he fended off a slow-starting Alonso.

Hamilton, who gazumped Alonso, set his sights on Verstappen’s Red Bull gearbox, but by the end of the opening lap, the seven-time world champion was eight tenths back – and when a virtual safety car was deployed on lap eight after Logan Sargeant broke down in his Williams, the gap was the best part of three seconds.

With Verstappen racing off into the distance, Alonso was the filling in a Mercedes’ sandwich. But that changed on lap 12 when George Russell slammed into the wall on the exit of Turn 9.

Russell’s front wing snapped in half, while his right-rear tyre dangled off his Mercedes. With debris littering the circuit, the safety car came out and the main players stopped for new tyres as Russell pulled in for repairs.

After changing all four tyres, Hamilton was released into Alonso’s path. Alonso said he had to slam on the anchors to avoid running into the back of the Mercedes man, and the flashpoint was duly noted by the stewards, and latterly investigated, but the British driver would escape without punishment.

The safety car came in five laps later and Verstappen executed a fine getaway to leave Hamilton trailing. Indeed, after the opening two turns, he was already one second up the road.

Rather than looking ahead, Hamilton’s attention was occupied by Alonso behind. And on lap 22, the Spaniard dived past Hamilton with a fine move at the final chicane.

Hamilton had a nibble back at Alonso as they raced to the opening corner, but the evergreen Spaniard held his nerve to keep the Mercedes man behind. Russell raced back from last to eighth before he was forced to park a Mercedes riddled with excessive brake wear with 15 laps remaining.

Verstappen took the chequered flag 9.5 sec clear of Alonso. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished fourth and fifth respectively for Ferrari. Alex Albon crossed the line a commendable seventh in his Williams.

Lewis Hamilton said he was honoured to be fighting two world champions after finishing behind Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso at the Canadian Grand Prix.

In his newly revamped Mercedes machine, Hamilton claimed his second podium in succession, a fortnight after he finished runner-up to Verstappen at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

“It is quite an honour to be up there with two world champions,” said Hamilton. “I was really excited to be third, and just trying to be in that mix.

“We didn’t have the pace today. We knew this would not be our strongest circuit because we struggle in the low-speed corners, and that was where I was losing time to Fernando and Max.

“But we are chipping away and I do believe we will get there at some stage. Our pace was better today so we are going in the right direction.”

Hamilton scored just one top-three finish in the opening six rounds of the year but the seven-time world champion will now head to the next round in Austria on July 2 with the momentum of two strong showings in Barcelona and Montreal.

The 38-year-old started third, and was up to second at the opening corner after he breezed past a slow-starting Alonso.

Hamilton kept ahead of Alonso at the first round of pit stops, but he could do little to prevent the evergreen Spaniard from regaining second place on lap 22 of 70.

“Aston Martin took a step ahead of us this weekend with their upgrades but we are working on bringing more upgrades to move forward,” added Hamilton.

“It is great to have this consistency and to be up on the podium.”

For Verstappen, the Red Bull man completed an emphatic lights-to-flag victory to finish 9.5 seconds clear of Alonso and move 69 points clear at the summit of the world championship.

It marked the Dutch driver’s 41st win in Formula One – to draw him level with triple world champion Ayrton Senna – and a century for Red Bull.

“To win the 100th grand prix for the team is incredible,” he said. “It is amazing and I never expected to be on these kind of numbers for myself, too.”

Max Verstappen completed another crushing performance to win the Canadian Grand Prix and match Ayrton Senna’s tally of 41 victories.

The Dutchman led every lap at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to draw level with Senna and extend his championship lead.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso finished runner-up, with Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes. Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell retired on lap 55 of 70 following an earlier prang with the wall.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished fourth and fifth respectively for Ferrari, with Sergio Perez sixth. Alex Albon crossed the line a commendable seventh in his Williams.

Verstappen, who notched up Red Bull’s 100th win in Formula One, now leads Perez by 69 points on his unstoppable march to a hat-trick of titles.

A day after taking pole position in the wet, Verstappen reigned supreme in the dry to emulate Senna and move into joint fifth in the pantheon of F1 winners.

Verstappen was not even born when Senna won his 41st and final race at the 1993 season-ending Australian Grand Prix. Senna lost his life the following year in Imola following a fatal crash at the Tamburello curve, aged just 34.

Verstappen will not celebrate his 26th birthday until September, but his sixth victory from the opening eight fixtures of the year leaves only Hamilton (103 wins), Michael Schumacher (91), Sebastian Vettel (53) and Alain Prost (51) ahead of him in the record books.

Remarkably, Verstappen has won 15 of the last 19 races in F1, with Red Bull failing to taste victory on just one occasion in that streak.

Indeed, Red Bull could yet become the first team to win every race in a single season. And with Verstappen at the wheel, they have every chance.

Verstappen’s triumph was sealed on the short dash to the opening chicane. Alonso was slow away from his marks, and Hamilton leapfrogged the green Aston Martin machine to take second spot.

Hamilton set his sights on Verstappen’s Red Bull gearbox, but by the end of the opening lap, the seven-time world champion was eight tenths back – and when a virtual safety car was deployed on lap eight after Logan Sargeant broke down in his Williams, the gap was the best part of three seconds.

With Verstappen racing off into the distance, Alonso was the filling in a Mercedes’ sandwich. But that changed on lap 12 when Russell slammed into the wall on the exit of Turn 9.

Russell’s front wing snapped in half, while his right-rear tyre dangled off his Mercedes. With debris littering the circuit, the safety car came out and the main players stopped for new tyres as Russell pulled in for repairs.

After changing all four tyres, Hamilton was released into Alonso’s path. Alonso said he had to slam on the anchors to avoid running into the back of the Mercedes man, and the flashpoint was duly noted by the stewards, and latterly investigated, but the British driver would escape without punishment.

After five laps behind the safety car, Verstappen executed a fine getaway to leave Hamilton trailing. Indeed, after the opening two turns, he was already one second up the road.

Rather than looking ahead, Hamilton’s attention was occupied by Alonso behind. And on lap 22, the Spaniard dived past Hamilton with a fine move at the final chicane.

Hamilton had a nibble back at Alonso as they raced to the opening corner, but the evergreen Spaniard held his nerve to keep the Mercedes man behind.

A second round of pit stops followed and Hamilton set about reeling Alonso in. But Russell’s race came to an end while running in eighth with 15 laps remaining when he was told to park a Mercedes riddled with excessive brake wear.

Alonso was also struggling with a brake problem and Hamilton sensed blood. “Hamilton is 1.9 seconds behind,” Alonso was told with eight laps to run.

“Copy,” replied the 41-year-old. “Leave it to me.” Alonso was true to his word, holding off Hamilton’s advances.

Verstappen ran across the second chicane with a handful of laps to run.

“I nearly knocked myself out on that kerb,” said the Dutchman with a chuckle before taking the flag 9.5 seconds clear of Alonso with Hamilton 4.5 sec further back.

Max Verstappen put his Red Bull on pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix following Saturday’s rain-hit qualifying session in Montreal.

Verstappen has won five of the opening seven rounds and even a wet-dry-wet track in Montreal could not slow the Dutchman down.

Nico Hulkenberg took advantage of the sodden track to take second spot for Haas, 1.2 seconds behind Verstappen, with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso third.

Lewis Hamilton qualified fourth, one spot ahead of George Russell in the other Mercedes, while Lando Norris claimed seventh for McLaren.

Verstappen has been in a class of one this year and the Red Bull man kept his composure in changeable conditions to take an impressive pole.

Verstappen was quickest out of the marks in Q3 before Oscar Piastri’s shunt on the exit of the second corner led to a red flag.

The session was delayed for eight minutes and – with the intensity of the rain increasing – no one would threaten Verstappen’s time.

Hamilton had briefly held third spot, but the seven-time world champion was usurped by Hulkenberg just as the red flag arrived for Piastri’s collision with the wall.

Sergio Perez’s string of poor races continued after he was eliminated in Q2 and starts Sunday’s round from 12th place.

Perez, who trails team-mate Verstappen by 53 points, started last in Monaco after he crashed out of qualifying and then was only 11th on the grid last time out in Spain.

Here, the Mexican again begins a race outside of the top 10 after he failed to get a clean lap together and faces losing even further ground to Verstappen.

On an afternoon of surprise results, Charles Leclerc was also knocked out in Q2. The Monegasque, who, too, performed badly in Barcelona – qualifying 19th and taking the chequered flag in 11th – was denied an early switch by Ferrari to dry rubber.

When the brief changeover to slicks arrived, Leclerc could not do enough to progress to Q3, yelling in frustration over the radio.

“The tyres are not ready,” he said. “Come on!”

Earlier, qualifying was red-flagged after a handful of minutes when Zhou Guanyu temporally broke down in his Alfa Romeo.

The Chinese driver managed to get going again, limping back to the pits, with the session restarted after a seven-minute suspension.

Zhou was able to continue in Q1, but he finished 20th and last.

Max Verstappen finished fastest as Carlos Sainz crashed out of a rain-hit final practice for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Verstappen has won five of the first seven races of the season and even a wet track in Montreal could not slow the Dutchman down.

The world champion, already 53 points clear of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in the championship standings, finished 0.291 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

The Monegasque was the only driver within one second of Verstappen. Fernando Alonso took third for Aston Martin, 1.3 sec off the pace.

Lewis Hamilton, fastest in Friday’s dry running at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, finished 10th in the rain, 1.98 sec slower than Verstappen, with George Russell 15th in the other Mercedes.

In the greasy conditions, Sainz spun after he stepped on to the white line under braking for the opening left-right chicane.

Sainz was sent out of control and into the wall, sustaining significant damage to the front of his scarlet car.

The Ferrari man escaped unharmed from the high-speed shunt which saw the one-hour session suspended for eight minutes.

But his mechanics will now face a race against time to repair his machine for qualifying which is due to start at 16:00 local time (21:00 BST).

Sainz was also summoned to the stewards for blocking Williams’ Alex Albon at the final chicane. Albon was forced to take evasive action to avoid slamming into the back of the Spaniard.

Hamilton headlined the order here on Friday, but the seven-time world champion was not at ease with his black-liveried car on a sodden surface.

“Grip is very poor,” said Hamilton after he ran off the road at the first corner and failed to trouble the top of the time sheets.

Elsewhere, Kevin Magnussen finished an impressive fourth for Haas, one spot ahead of Sainz, who set his speediest lap moments before his accident.

British driver Lando Norris was 13th, one spot behind his rookie McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri, while Perez finished a lowly 17th, 2.7 sec behind Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton finished fastest in second practice for the Canadian Grand Prix as the action finally started in Montreal on Friday.

The opening running of the weekend was abandoned following an embarrassing CCTV failure at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

But the problem was fixed to allow an extended 90-minute second session later in the day and it was Hamilton who topped the time sheets with Mercedes team-mate George Russell second.

Carlos Sainz finished third for Ferrari ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, while championship leader Max Verstappen ended the day in sixth position for Red Bull.

Hamilton finished runner-up to Verstappen at the last round in Spain a fortnight ago in his revamped Mercedes machine, and the seven-time world champion spoke earlier this week about the grid’s once-dominant team having discovered its North Star as they bid to reel in Red Bull.

And the early signs at the eighth round of the campaign were again encouraging at a venue where Hamilton has won on seven occasions – more than any other driver.

The 38-year-old finished 0.027 seconds clear of Russell in the other Mercedes, with Sainz a tenth adrift. Verstappen, who heads the championship order with five victories from seven appearances this year, finished four tenths back.

The second session was brought forward by 30 minutes – and extended to an hour-and-a-half – after the opening running was red-flagged with just four minutes on the board when Pierre Gasly broke down in his Alpine.

Only a handful of drivers had posted a lap with Hamilton and Russell among those who had not taken to the track.

The session had been expected to restart as usual following the removal of Gasly’s Alpine, but Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, blamed “issues with local CCTV infrastructure” for the initial delay.

The suspension in play then became temporary with the FIA confirming at 14:20 local time (19:20 BST) that the session would not be resumed leaving an estimated 90,000 spectators short-changed and the sport with red faces.

Two red flags then disrupted the second session after Nico Hulkenberg’s engine blew up, and Esteban Ocon broke down in his Alpine on a troubled day for the French team.

Dark clouds lingered over the 14-corner track and heavy rain arrived with 10 minutes remaining to cement Mercedes’ position at the top of the order.

Rain is forecast for Saturday’s qualifying session and could also play a part in Sunday’s 70-lap race.

Formula One first practice at the Canadian Grand Prix was embarrassingly cancelled after a CCTV failure at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The opening one-hour running of the weekend was red-flagged after just four minutes when Pierre Gasly broke down in his Alpine.

Only a handful of drivers had posted a lap with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell among those who had not taken to the track.

The running had been expected to restart as usual following the removal of Gasly’s Alpine, but F1’s governing body, the FIA, blamed “issues with local CCTV infrastructure” for the initial delay.

The suspension in play then became temporary with the FIA confirming at 14:20 local time (19:20 BST) that the session would not be resumed leaving an estimated 90,000 spectators short-changed.

The FIA said that the concluding running of the day, which was due to start at 17:00 local time (22:00 BST), would be brought forward to 16:30 to allow for 30 minutes more running.

An FIA spokesperson said: “The delay will be longer as the CCTV is not synced correctly and until the issue has been fixed we cannot run on track.

“This system is a local installation and they are continuing to work to resolve the problem.

“The clock will continue to run down on FP1 and the session will not be extended as there must be two hours between FP1 and FP2.”

Former driver Karun Chandhok, who competed in 11 grands prix and now works as a pundit for Sky Sports, was critical of the FIA’s decision to abandon the running.

“I feel we needed to get on track,” said Chandhok.

“I would argue that there’s races around the world where they haven’t got CCTV cameras and they rely on marshal posts to radio incidents in – then you can use the TV cameras to look at it.”

Max Verstappen has admitted it is beyond his childhood dreams to draw level with Ayrton Senna’s victory tally ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Verstappen heads into Sunday’s race at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve just one victory shy of the great Brazilian’s haul of 41 after winning five of the opening seven rounds in his dominant Red Bull machine.

Verstappen was not even born when Senna was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, but a victory here would take the 25-year-old into joint fifth in the pantheon of F1 winners.

“When I was a little kid, I would never have imagined being on that list,” said the two-time world champion.

“But you cannot compare it. People have different careers and some drivers get into a race-winning car sooner than others and nowadays we have more races than back in the day.

“I never look at the numbers, but it is an amazing achievement, that’s for sure.”

A sixth victory of a one-sided campaign would leave only Hamilton (103 wins), Michael Schumacher (91), Sebastian Vettel (53) and Alain Prost (51) ahead of Verstappen.

Hamilton reached 41 wins to draw level with his boyhood hero Senna at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2015 before going on to surpass Schumacher’s haul five years later and stand on his own as the driver to have won the most races in the history of the sport.

However, the seven-time world champion, who has not won a race since his contentious championship defeat to Verstappen at the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, admitted that his rival could “absolutely” eclipse his record.

But when asked if Hamilton’s record is on the horizon, Verstappen said: “It is very hard to beat.

“You need to be in the right car for a long time and we don’t know if we have that. I am just going with the flow and enjoying the moment.”

Verstappen has already established a 53-point lead over team-mate Sergio Perez on his seemingly unstoppable march towards a hat-trick of world titles.

The world champions are undefeated in the opening seven fixtures, winning 17 of the past 18 races, and could become the first team to win every round in a single season. A victory here on Sunday would also be the team’s 100th in F1.

“For the sport, I understand people get bored if one team is dominating,” added Verstappen.

“But we have seen it at Mercedes, we have seen it at Ferrari, and we have seen it at Red Bull in the past.

“For me, it provides me with even more motivation because I know I have a car that can win.

“If you look at how we are performing, yes we can win every race, but it is not realistic. As long as I win the championship, that’s the most important thing.”

Lewis Hamilton has knocked back Mercedes boss Toto Wolff’s claim that he is on the brink of signing a new contract.

Earlier this week, team principal Wolff said Hamilton’s contract renewal would be resolved “in days rather than weeks”, adding that he was “trying hard” to finalise terms with his superstar driver before this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

But speaking in Montreal on Thursday, Hamilton, 38, said: “I don’t have a huge amount to say on the contract.

“It will get done when it is done. If that is next week, or in a month’s time, as long as it gets done, I am not really bothered.”

After the previous round in Barcelona, Wolff said it would take only “half an hour over coffee” to agree an extension to Hamilton’s £40million-a-season deal which expires in six months.

Hamilton met with Wolff the day following the Spanish Grand Prix in the hope of rubber-stamping a new deal – which is set to extend the seven-time world champion’s stay in Formula One beyond his 40th birthday – and has also spent time with the Austrian in New York this week.

Hamilton added: “I have seen Toto and we have talked several times. We have a great relationship but there is nothing to say at the moment.”

Asked if any progress on negotiations had been made, Hamilton replied: “Yes, but there is nothing new to add to it.”

Hamilton, who has not won a race since his contentious championship defeat to Max Verstappen at the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, is already 83 points off the title pace this year.

On Sunday, a sixth victory of the season for Verstappen would put him on 41 victories for his career, equalling Ayrton Senna’s tally, with only Hamilton (103 wins), Michael Schumacher (91), Sebastian Vettel (53) and Alain Prost (51) ahead of him.

And Hamilton admitted Verstappen, still only 25, could break his record.

“He has got a very long career ahead of him so he absolutely could,” said Hamilton. “Records are there to be broken and he has got an amazing team.

“Max has been doing an amazing job and he has had an incredible career so far.

“But we have got to work harder to try and continue to extend our record and I hope, with the period of time I have left in my career, I get to have more close racing with him.”

Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One future could be resolved as early as before this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Hamilton has six months to run on his £40million-a-season deal with Mercedes, but team principal Toto Wolff said his superstar driver is on the brink of agreeing new terms.

“It is going to happen soon, and we are talking more days than weeks,” Wolff told CNBC’s Squawk on the Street programme in New York when asked about Hamilton’s contract negotiations.

“We are trying hard [to get it done before the Canadian Grand Prix]. I will see him today and maybe we will talk about it.

“We have such a good relationship that we dread the moment that we need to talk about money.”

Hamilton, 38, met with Wolff the day after the last round in Spain in the hope of rubber-stamping a fresh contract with the Silver Arrows.

It is anticipated that the British driver’s extension will be a multi-year deal, extending his stay in F1 beyond his 40th birthday.

“Lewis is the most important personality in the sport,” added Wolff.

“He is so multi-faceted, not only with the racing, but also off track, so we need to keep him in the sport for as long as possible.

“From a team’s perspective, Lewis and Mercedes have gone back a long time. He has never raced for any other brand than Mercedes.

“We both joined the team in 2013 together, and from a professional relationship, we now have a friendship. It has been a wonderful time.”

Hamilton, who has not won a race since his contentious championship defeat to Max Verstappen at the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, is already 83 points off the title pace this year.

But Mercedes’ recent upturn in form has provided Hamilton, who finished runner-up to Red Bull’s Verstappen at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, with renewed hope that his dream of a record eighth world title is not over.

However, Wolff warned: “The result in Spain was a well-deserved reward for everyone’s efforts at Brackley and Brixworth to bring our update package to the track.

“We were pleased with how it performed, and it will provide a new baseline for us to build from.

“But we must also manage our expectations. It was a circuit that suited our car, and we should expect our direct competitors to be stronger in the next races.

“The gap to Red Bull is large and it will take lots of hard work to close that down. Nevertheless, we’re up for the challenge.”

Lewis Hamilton won his first Formula One race at the Canadian Grand Prix, on this day in 2007.

The then 22-year-old took first place in only his sixth grand prix after a series of podium finishes in his debut season for McLaren.

Hamilton took pole position over team-mate Fernando Alonso, who qualified second on the grid, and the Briton controlled the race from the moment the lights went out, keeping in front of the Spaniard at Turn One and again on the inside line for Turn Two.

Alonso was hunting down his third world title and may have expected Hamilton to make way but the pair battled again before Alonso ran into the grass and dropped back in among the rest of the field.

Two safety cars were called when Robert Kubica ran his BMW into a concrete barrier after Adrian Sutil crashed his Force India, but Hamilton defended well in both situations to retain the lead and take home his first race victory.

After the race in Montreal, Hamilton said: “I’ve been ready for this for quite some time, ready for the win – it was just a matter of where and when.

“I have to dedicate this win to my dad – without him this wouldn’t have been possible.

“The last few laps were just a case of counting them down and it really was just about enjoying it.”

Hamilton took the chequered flag 4.343seconds ahead of Nick Heidfeld in the BMW, while Williams’ Alexander Wurz crossed the line in third.

Hamilton has since become a record-equalling seven-time world champion and has won the Canadian Grand Prix a further six times during his career to date.

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