LEWIS HAMILTON feels he will be in Formula One for years to come if he continues to enjoy the feelings that followed his Canadian Grand Prix triumph.
Hamilton has endured a season of frustration and errors not of his own making but took the chequered flag at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve yesterday following a pulsating conclusion to the 70-lap race.
It was Hamilton’s third victory in five races in Canada, adding to the Formula One history continually being made as we have now had seven different winners of the opening seven races.
Hamilton has reclaimed the lead in the championship, even if only by two points from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and three to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.
Regardless, it was a day to savour as McLaren made a two-stop strategy work to perfection, despite initial scepticism when Hamilton made his second trip into the pits with 20 laps to go. Hamilton, whose first victory in F1 was in Canada in 2007, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I crossed the line – a feeling inside like an explosion.
"It was really just incredible. That’s what I love about racing, and if I continue to have this feeling for many, many years, then hopefully I’ll be here for a long, long time.”
The result hinged on Hamilton’s lap-50 stop as at that stage he led by four seconds from Alonso, with Vettel in close attendance.
It then became a question of whether either man would pit again, or attempt to run to the finish on a one-stop plan. When it became clear the latter was on the cards, Hamilton was left to close down an initial 15-second gap.
On the fresher rubber Hamilton eased past Vettel on lap 62, the German deciding immediately to pit again, even though he knew it would cost him a podium.
Two laps later and Hamilton targeted and passed former team-mate Alonso, whose tyres proceeded to badly let him down as he wound up fifth behind Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, Sauber’s Sergio Perez and Vettel.
Hamilton’s race was in stark contrast to team-mate Jenson Button who again suffered badly for pace, finishing 14th and a lap down on his fellow Briton.
Now trailing Hamilton by 43 points, Button said: “It was a terrible race, I’ve never had one like it, and they seem to get worse and worse. I’m pushing the car to its limits and yet I’m so far off the leaders. It’s a little bit confusing.”