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Lewis Hamilton Takes Canadian GP Crown

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.

Hamilton Wins in Montreal

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.

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Lewis Hamilton gets top billing in Canadian GP

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 Schumacher’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 Fernando’s times, if not doing better, I am demonstrating that I’ve got the ability to be a champion; to deserve at least to be equal with him. I’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 Ferrari’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? “That’s a good question,” he says. “I’ve got to remember the fact that I’m privileged to be part of such a wonderful team. I’d do anything for this team. I’ve bonded with the guys so well at testing and over the years I’ve been here. I believe I’ve got a special relationship, just because they’ve seen me grow up. They want me to win just as much I want to win for them. I don’t feel there is a need to get a special message across. They can see I’m doing a good job. I think when I do win they’ll be excited. Ron wants us both to win but two people can’t win. Monaco was just one race when it didn’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.

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Ron Dennis cleared of team orders

An addendum to the Monaco Grand Prix in which the McLaren team was investigated for “team orders” which allowed Fernando Alonso allegedly to beat Lewis Hamilton in the race.

However, FIA has cleared Ron Dennis of any breach of the rules in this case. The earlier FIA statement read : “The FIA has launched an investigation into incidents involving the McLaren Mercedes team.”

McLaren denied using team orders — banned since 2002 — but said they had employed team strategy instead — an interesting form of words.

The FIA investigation centred on the international sporting code, which states it will punish “any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally”.

Earlier a McLaren spokesman was in bullish mood, insisting, “We are very confident about FIA’s investigation into our race strategy. We do not, and have not, manipulated Grands Prix unless there are some exceptional circumstances.”

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis said, “All the decisions that we took before and during the race respect perfectly the international sporting code.”

However, at a post-race news conference Dennis admitted he “virtually had to decide in advance” which driver would win because of the challenging nature of the tight street circuit in Monte Carlo.

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Lewis Hamilton Restrained by Ron Dennis

Fernando Alonso was helped to victory in the Monaco Grand Prix by instructions to team-mate Lewis Hamilton to let his senior partner take the race.

McLaren Wins

Formula One’s governing body, FIA, is to investigate McLaren’s victory at the Monaco Grand Prix “after boss Ron Dennis orchestrated a team procession”, reports the UK Daily Mail.

Yesterday’s race saw Fernando Alonso lead home team-mate Lewis Hamilton in a contrived one-two and now the FIA are to launch a probe into the victory for a “possible breach of the international sporting code.”

A statement on the FIA’s website, www.fia.com, reads, “The FIA has launched an investigation into incidents involving the McLaren Mercedes team at the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix in light of a possible breach of the international sporting code. The relevant evidence is under review and a further announcement will be made in due course.”

Team orders are banned by FIA, after Rubens Barrichello was told to let Michael Schumacher win the Austrian GP in 2002.

Ron Dennis insisted there was nothing wrong with his plans for the race. He had plans in the event of a possible safety car incident, as had occurred in four of the previous five Monaco GPs. In that case, Hamilton would have claimed the victory.

But Hamilton surely holds the psychological advantage from here on in — assuming his team allows him to win.

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