| MONTREAL, June 13
MONTREAL, June 13 A triumphant return to the
circuit where he won his first grand prix three years ago has
given Lewis Hamilton renewed confidence in his quest to win a
second world championship.
The McLaren driver won Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix with a
superb tactical drive under enormous pressure to claim his
second straight win of the season and soar to the top of the
drivers' title standings in one of the most competitive Formula
One seasons in years.
"The team did an exceptional job, it was one of the toughest
races so far but that is what you want," said the Briton, who
won the world title in 2008 after finishing second the previous
"It was an incredibly challenging afternoon, especially in
the last 20 laps, when I was trying to look after my tyres while
also keeping Jenson (Button) and Fernando (Alonso) behind me."
Hamilton's win was made all the sweeter when his team mate
and countryman Button finished second in a repeat of the one-two
placings at the last race in Turkey.
Alonso took third for Ferrari while Red Bull's Sebastian
Vettel and Mark Webber were fourth and fifth respectively after
setting the pace in the first part of the season.
Red Bull had taken pole position in the first seven races
before Hamilton broke the sequence in Montreal but McLaren have
opened up a 22 point lead in the constructors championship
because of their superior results in the races.
"In terms of pure pace, I still think the Red Bull car is
still a little bit faster than ours but, as a whole, I think our
package is now stronger," said Hamilton.
"Going forward, we need to build on the progress we've made
recently, and we're going to do just that, we'll now knuckle
down and make a really big effort to increase that gap.
"We've got good momentum now, so I hope we can continue our
winning run through to Valencia in two weeks' time."
The Canadian Grand Prix has always held special memories for
Hamilton. He won his first Grand Prix on the testing Montreal
street circuit in 2007 and has captured pole position the last
three times the race has been held there.
Despite again starting from the front of the grid,
Hamilton's race was anything but smooth.
He was under immediate pressure from Vettel and gave up his
lead when he made an early pit stop, then almost collided with
Alonso as the pair exited the pit lane together.
Alonso, with the inside line, came out in front but Hamilton
overtook him a few laps later to regain the lead -- only to
relinquish it a second time when he made another stop for fresh
He took the lead for the third time when Red Bull's Mark
Webber had to pit as his tyres lost grip.
Hamilton was then able to nurse his car and hold off his
chasing rivals to reach the chequered flag first after an
enthralling tussle between five drivers all vying for the
"It's the ultimate challenge I've experienced in F1. There
are so many of us pushing right to the wire. I think it will
remain close all season," Hamilton said.
"All the best drivers are in the top teams and are all very
(Editing by Alan Baldwin. To query or comment on this story
(firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 646-552-9780. Reuters
Messaging: email@example.com; For the
sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport/))
Please click on the newslink:
[MORA-LEN] for more motor racing stories