Hamilton Stars During Canadian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton celebrates after his victory in the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday. (Steve Etherington Photo)

MONTREAL – Lewis Hamilton enjoyed an afternoon cruise aboard his Mercedes as he easily captured his sixth Canadian Grand Prix victory Sunday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Hamilton was never seriously challenged during the race as all of the drama unfolded behind the three-time Formula One World Champion.

Hamilton grabbed the lead from the pole as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had a brilliant start to snatch second over Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel. In doing so, Verstappen made slight contact with Vettel’s front wing, causing damage that would force Vettel to pit a few laps later.

The first-lap drama wasn’t over yet. Exiting turn two Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz Jr. tangled, with the Haas entry of Grosjean clipping the Toro Rosso of Sainz to send him into a high speed spin. Sainz spun uncontrolled into Felipe Massa in the chicane after turn two, ending the day for both men.

On the restart Hamilton pulled clear of Verstappen and controlled the race with ease. He pitted on lap 32 for ultrasoft tires and from there pulled away to a comfortable victory, nearly 20 seconds clear of runner-up Bottas.

Bottas’ road to second was made easier when Verstappen’s Red Bull stopped in turn two on the 11th lap. Still, he was no match for his teammate, who cruised to victory.

“It’s been such an incredible weekend,” said Hamilton, who is now just 12 points behind Vettel in the Formula One championship standings. “I just couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone and I’m so grateful for this result. We came away from Monaco and we were scratching our heads, but we pulled together and look what we achieved. We came here with a much better understanding of the car and we delivered a real blow to the Ferraris. Valtteri did a fantastic job too and this is our first one-two finish together. We’ve scored a big load of solid points and it’s well deserved. It’s crazy to think I had my first pole and win here 10 years ago. The race actually felt very reminiscent of 2007, in terms of how it unfolded. It’s a long race here, especially when you’re out there on your own, but I knew the car would hold together and it did perfectly.”

Behind the Mercedes duo, Daniel Ricciardo was able to take third despite heavy challenges from the Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, who found themselves bickering with each other.

Ocon was on fresher tires late in the race and was lapping faster than Perez, but Perez wouldn’t give up the position to his teammate and that allowed the fast closing Sebastian Vettel to chase both of them down.

Vettel, who spent the entire race recovering from the first-lap contact that required him to change his front wing, was able to dispatch both Force India cars to finish fourth. Perez ended up fifth, with Ocon coming home sixth.

Kimi Raikkonen was seventh in the second Ferrari, followed by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg in eighth. Canadian Lance Stroll finished ninth to score his first Formula One points for Williams, with the Haas of Grosjean taking the final points paying position in 10th.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, making his first start since his Indianapolis 500 debut last month, looked like he was in line to score points for the first time this year until his Honda engine failed again with only a few laps left. When his engine failed Alonso climbed from his car and promptly went into the stands, where he tossed his gloves into the mass of fans and began taking pictures.