LEWIS HAMILTON won his second consecutive race to cut teammate Nico Rosberg’s championship lead to just nine points, as the German driver could only finish fifth in the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday June 12.
Following his first win of the season in Monaco, Hamilton grabbed pole on one of his favourite tracks, although he initially dropped to second in the actual race as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel got off to a blistering start, hurtling past both Mercedes within the first 11 metres to leave Hamilton and Rosberg side-by-side going into turn one.
The British world champion was on the inside, and held his nerve as the two cars touched slightly on the exit, forcing Rosberg onto the grass and onto the escape road.
A clearly aggrieved Rosberg said afterwards: “I was angry at the time but that is racing.”
Meanwhile, Vettel assumed control of the race, although Hamilton was able to remain just over a second behind until the virtual safety car was deployed after Jenson Button’s Mclaren suffered an engine failure on lap 10.
In a race expected to require just a single pit stop, Ferrari then made the decision to bring both their cars in, putting them on a two-stop strategy that would ultimately hand the race to Hamilton.
He managed to run until lap 24, and although Vettel did make some ground up he was still around 6 seconds behind as the British driver changed to soft tyres, emerging some 13.5 seconds behind the Ferrari, which was running a new turbocharger in this race.
There then followed a wonderful display of tyre management from Hamilton, as he measured his pace to bring himself within 10 seconds of Vettel before the German made his second stop on lap 37.
He came out 7.8 seconds behind, and closed the gap to 4.5 seconds with 16 laps to go, before Hamilton smoothly extended the lead once more to demonstrate how well he had been regulating his pace.
Rosberg had moved up to fourth before a slow puncture sent him into the pits for a third set of tyres and wrecked his chance of a podium finish, although he did manage to get past Red Bull’s Daniel Riccardio and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen before spinning on the final lap as he attempted to overtake Max Verstappen in the other Red Bull, recovering without dropping a place.
Hamilton was delighted after the race, with his second victory on the bounce bringing him within sight of the championship lead having been 43 points in arrears just two races ago.
“Float like a butterfly sting like a bee. That one was for Muhammad, that one was for Ali,” he said over the team radio as he celebrated his 45th career win, and fifth in Montreal.