Canada wins special to Hamilton
FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON: Hamilton may not be about to ditch the Union Jack for a Maple Leaf but the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit is feeling more and more like home to the McLaren ace.
Author: Steve Keating
MONTREAL, Canada - Montreal may have overtaken the glamorous streets of Monaco as Lewis Hamilton's special race after the McLaren driver celebrated his third Canadian Grand Prix win on June 10.
Hamilton is only the third Formula 1 driver to win in Canada three times, joining seven-times winner Michael Schumacher and Nelson Piquet, who climbed to the top of the podium on three occasions.
'I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT'
Hamilton said: "I always say Monaco is real special because for the amount of people there but I think that perhaps this place is more special for me. This place here, my home Grand Prix Silverstone is also very special, but today with so many British flags and Grenadian flags and so many people wearing the caps and shirts the support has been phenomenal."
Drivers always remember their first victory and memories came flooding back for Hamilton, who picked up his maiden Grand Prix victory in 2007 on the island circuit.
Hamilton said: "What a great feeling, this is where I won my first Grand Prix and I knew today would be a tough, tough race but I loved every single minute of it."
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh could not say the same, spending the closing laps worrying about the decision to call Hamilton in for a second stop in the mistaken belief that those ahead would also have to pit. He said: "There were times in the race where you wondered 'have we got it right, are their tyres going to last?' All our analysis told us we were doing the right thing but until it unfolds you are never quite sure.
"Lewis did a fantastic job, the team did a great job to make those calls."
The big threat proved to be Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, championship leader going into the race, who hounded Hamilton and then led until losing pace late in the race due to worn tyres and finishing fifth.
LEADING THE PACK
Hamilton said: "I knew Fernando was going to be the one to beat today when he was behind me. I kind of had a feeling Fernando was doing a one-stop so I had to make a gap while looking after the tyres. I was able to build a gap and hold it even when Fernando picked up his pace.
"I think I got absolutely everything out of the car today."
If Hamilton needed any more reason to fan his love affair with Montreal, he needed only to glance at the Drivers' standings where his name now appears top of the points table with 88 ahead of Alonso on 86 and Vettel on 85.
Hamilton said: "It's one of the most enjoyable races I've had. I was just thinking today to finish at the front as I did in 2007 would be very special to me. I couldn't believe it when I was coming across the line. the feeling inside, it's like an explosion.
"It's been five years since I won here the first time but it feels just as good. It feels great to be on the top step, we never take it for granted. This for me feels like one of the very best races I have had for a long time."