Lewis Hamilton: Canada win crucial to title hopes

Formula 1

‘Can I race here every week?’ – Hamilton has six wins in Canada

Lewis Hamilton admitted his victory in the Canadian Grand Prix was crucial to his and his Mercedes team’s championship hopes this year.

Hamilton’s third win of the season cut his deficit to 12 points to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth.

Hamilton, who equalled his hero Ayrton Senna’s mark of 65 poles on Saturday, said: “I definitely think I have been at my best this weekend.

“It has been a spectacular day and the team really needed it.”

Hamilton’s first Formula 1 win came in Canada in 2007

It was Hamilton’s sixth win in Montreal in 10 races, by far his best record at any circuit and it came on the 10th anniversary of the first victory of his career.

“It has been smooth,” Hamilton said. “I was so happy with the qualifying lap, just beaming from ear to ear, sitting there at dinner thinking I can’t believe I got 65 poles, really having to pinch myself.

“Today I just really relived my first grand prix win in 2007. It has been a spectacular day. A lot different now. I am older, the crowd was actually with me as opposed to my first year when no-one knew me.”

The win comes after a difficult weekend for Mercedes at the last race in Monaco, where the team struggled to make the car perform and Hamilton finished seventh after qualifying 14th.

Actor Patrick Stewart joined in the celebrations with the Mercedes team

Hamilton praised the team’s efforts in working out what had gone wrong and fixing it for Canada.

“To come away from Monaco, everyone pulled together and I don’t think in five years I have ever seen them pull together like they did,” he said. “We have delivered a great blow to the Ferraris. Well deserved for everyone.

“They did such great work analysing what went wrong and giving us a summary and saying this is where we went wrong.

“Here the car was back where it should be. I’m happy it was that early in the season, even though Monaco is a good one to win. Hopefully that shouldn’t happen again.”

Verstappen and Vettel collided on the first lap

Vettel’s hopes were hit when his front wing was damaged by Max Verstappen’s Red Bull at the first corner, and he had to stop to replace it.

He fought back through the field and said he was disappointed not to pass Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo for the final podium place at the end.

“I wanted that podium but I didn’t get it,” he said.

“It was clear with the damage we had that unless there is trouble at the front or we are extremely lucky with safety cars or whatever that it would be difficult.

“I was very busy for most of the race. I enjoyed it, it was fun, it was good racing. There were some manoeuvres where I nearly wanted to close my eyes but ultimately the team and car deserved more. The pace was there.

“It was a bit difficult to read. Mercedes were very strong in the race but it is also a different story when you can control the race and the pace, the tyres. I was flat out and when you are chasing other cars you lose quite a lot of grip, then you are sliding. A different race.”

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