BRITAIN’S Lewis Hamilton stormed to the top of the Formula One drivers’ championship last night, with an entertaining victory in the Canadian Grand Prix.
At the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where Hamilton secured his first ever F1 win five years ago, the McLaren driver became the seventh different man to win the opening seven races of this campaign.
“This for me feels like one of the best races I’ve had for a very long time,” Hamilton enthused. “What a great feelings this is.”
Despite a sluggish second pit-stop, McLaren’s two-stop strategy paid dividends as Hamilton flew past Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in a thrilling series of final laps. Both Alonso and Vettel were then knocked off the podium entirely after being overtaken by Lotus’s Romain Grosjean and Sauber’s Sergio Perez.
Alonso’s attempt to finish the race with only one pit stop ended badly, with fading tyres rendering the car uncompetitive in the closing laps.
Hamilton’s victory (completed in one hour, 32 minutes, 29 seconds) saw him leap-frog the Spaniard in the drivers’ rankings, which he now leads with 88 points. Alonso and Vettel are narrowly behind, on 86 and 85 points respectively.
Paddy Lowe, technical director at McLaren, paid tribute to the team’s leading driver. “We feel really bad for letting him down in Spain,” Lowe admitted, hoping that yesterday’s win made up for the team’s recent errors that have plagued Hamilton.
McLaren team-mate Jenson Button endured another difficult race, finishing 16th having started 10th on the grid.
Fellow British driver Paul di Resta, of the team Force India, also slipped down the places, starting 8th but finishing 11th.