Hamilton wins Canadian GP, takes F1 points lead
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Lewis Hamilton became the record-extending seventh different winner in as many Formula One races this season by taking Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.
Hamilton benefited from a two pit-stop strategy, which allowed him to chase down Ferrari's Fernando Alonso for the lead with fresher tires. Alonso, who pitted only once in the early going, gave up the lead to Hamilton with four laps remaining.
While Alonso faded in the field with his older tires, Hamilton crossed the finish line 2.5 seconds ahead of surprise second-place finisher Romain Grosjean from Lotus.
Hamilton claimed his 18th career F1 win. His first victory came in the 2007 Canadian GP.
"What a great feeling," Hamilton said. "This is where I won my first grand prix. I knew today would be a tough race, but I loved every single minute of it. I'm really grateful."
When Hamilton made his second stop with 20 laps remaining in the 70-lap race, his McLaren team experienced an issue with changing his right-rear tire. He returned to the track in third, behind leader Alonso and second-place Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull.
Hamilton continuously set the quickest laps after his stop. He overtook Vettel for second with six laps left before making the winning pass on Alonso.
"I never had a doubt in my mind that there wasn't a possibility to win, but I was thinking that (Alonso and Vettel) were falling quite far behind, so I assumed they were doing a two-stop," Hamilton said. "I had a couple of problems during my stops, and maybe they were my fault. I don't know. But otherwise, the pit stops were great."
Hamilton's most recent win came last November in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Grosjean posted his career-best finish in F1.
"It was an incredible race, and the one stop strategy worked perfectly for us," he said. "It wasn't an easy race, but we wanted to be aggressive to achieve a good result."
Sergio Perez from Sauber also pulled off a stunner in Montreal by passing Alonso and Vettel in the closing laps en route to a third-place finish and his second podium appearance this season.
"When you start 15th and there is no rain or chaos, you don't really expect to finish on the podium," Perez said. "We were quite aggressive today. The strategy and the pit stop were very good, and I was able to overtake a few cars. I saw that for me the tire degradation wasn't so bad, and this allowed me to manage my pace quite well."
Vettel, who started on the pole, settled for a fourth-place result.
"It was a difficult race today," the two-time defending F1 world champion said. "We found ourselves in third place, quite far away from Lewis. He decided to box again, but Fernando and I took the decision to stay out. I felt pretty comfortable on the tires, and obviously, we were hoping to get the place back, but as it turned out it was the right thing to go for the second stop."
Alonso ended up fifth.
Nico Rosberg from Mercedes took the sixth position, followed by Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber, who won the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago, and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen.
Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa from Ferrari completed the top-10.
McLaren's Jenson Button, who won last year's Canadian GP, dealt with an ill- handling car throughout the race and wound up finishing one lap behind in 16th.
With the win, Hamilton moved atop the point standings. He holds a two-point lead over Alonso. Vettel is three points out of the lead, while Webber is nine markers behind.
06/10 19:14:19 ET