McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton started the Canadian Grand Prix from pole position as he made a determined bid to follow up his extraordinary win in Monaco two weeks ago with another victory.
Hamilton scored his maiden Grand Prix win in Montreal last year. Now he had to contend with a blustery wind, a track that was breaking up in places, and his classy opponents’ best efforts to overturn his Championship lead.
After leading comfortably in the race, the introduction of the safety car followed by a pit stop threatened to send him way back in the field.
Coming swiftly out of the pit lane, he misjudged Kimi Raikkonen’s start and ploughed into the back of him, eliminating both.
Hamilton will now be penalized a number of places at the French Grand Prix on June 22.
Poker-playing Pole, Robert Kubica went on to win the Canadian title and now leads the Championship table.
Lewis Hamilton seems to swing between brilliance and colossal mistakes. Once again, “bad luck” dogged his path to the Championship.
May we now hope to see a return of the careful approach that led him to victory in Monte Carlo?
The French is next up.
In retrospect it seems inevitable. Lewis Hamilton has been threatening to win a Grand Prix all season. It was only a matter of time before he got to pole position and won comfortably.
It wasn’t as comfortable in Canada as he would have liked though, as the race was marred by incidents.
The 22-year-old newbie McLaren driver led from start to finish in a race that saw four safety car episodess and only 12 cars finishing. Hamilton now takes an 8-point championship lead over his team-mate Fernando Alonso, who came in 7th after a bad start and penalties.
Hamilton’s margin of victory was 4.343 seconds. Nick Heidfeld finished second for BMW Sauber and Alex Wurz third for Williams.
The worst incident was a horrendous crash that saw Polish driver Robert Kubica break a leg as he was pushed off the track by Jarno Trulli, shooting into the air and rolling over twice.
A third safety car period to clean up debris from Christijan Albers’ Spyker from the third chicane changed the order further with 20 laps to go, giving the race a very unfamiliar look.
David Coulthard’s Red Bull and Jenson Button’s Honda both failed to finish because of gearbox problems.
But a good day for McLaren, and a great one for Hamilton.
Lewis Hamilton has secured the first pole position of his short F1 career in the Canadian Grand Prix.
Tomorrow he starts first on the grid with every possibility of winning on his sixth attempt.
Go get ‘em boy.
The Canadian national newspaper, The Globe and Mail devotes five pages to wunderkind Lewis Hamilton, who has clocked five podium finishes in his first five Grand Prix. There’s no doubt who is the talking point of tomorrow’s Canadian GP.
But Hamilton has a problem. It goes back to Monaco when he seemed to be pulled back by team orders from Ron Dennis, the man who has nurtured his talent for 10 years. After the race, he spoke out perhaps more sharply than he meant to. His message? The Rubens Barrichello role is not for him. Barrichello is best remembered as Michael Schumacherâ€™s deputy dawg at Ferrari. Despite being an excellent driver, in his native Brazil he’s regarded as a figure of fun.
Hamilton is not going down that road, “I think every weekend when I am matching Fernandoâ€™s times, if not doing better, I am demonstrating that Iâ€™ve got the ability to be a champion; to deserve at least to be equal with him. Iâ€™d hate the situation Rubens was in. If that was ever the case, I would not be here much longer.”
Some commentators are now suggesting that Ferrariâ€™s weighty cheque book could tempt him to cross the pits to their camp. But this seems unlikely unless Dennis loses all sense of proportion and clamps down on his young protege, a move that would lose him a great deal of respect in his British heartland.
So how will Hamilton press his claims within the team? “Thatâ€™s a good question,” he says. “Iâ€™ve got to remember the fact that Iâ€™m privileged to be part of such a wonderful team. Iâ€™d do anything for this team. Iâ€™ve bonded with the guys so well at testing and over the years Iâ€™ve been here. I believe Iâ€™ve got a special relationship, just because theyâ€™ve seen me grow up. They want me to win just as much I want to win for them. I donâ€™t feel there is a need to get a special message across. They can see Iâ€™m doing a good job. I think when I do win theyâ€™ll be excited. Ron wants us both to win but two people canâ€™t win. Monaco was just one race when it didnâ€™t go in my favour, but in the future there will come a time when it will.”
In Friday’s practice sessions Alonso held the lead, but Hamilton pledged caution on his first attempts on this track. He’ll be faster in the race itself.
But so will the Ferrari duo on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit.