Hamilton 'ecstatic' with Canadian Grand Prix result but remains a distant sixth – iNews

On a Montreal track that has yielded seven wins to Lewis Hamilton, including the first of his career, third place felt as good as any of those mighty victories and rounded off a remarkable transformation in a Mercedes motor likened to dog faeces two days prior. At one point Hamilton luxuriated in the sweet delirium of the fastest lap.
Hamilton’s return to the podium for the first time since the opening race in Bahrain will doubtless trigger more head-scratching at Brackley, albeit of a happier variety. It will bring no end of validation too to a driver bettered by team-mate George Russell in seven consecutive races since Sakhir. No requirement for Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff to roll out his Hamilton justifications this day.
“I think we got something here guys. Let’s keep pushing,” Hamilton said over the radio as he brought the car home behind Red Bull winner Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
“Great to see a smile on your face,” said Jenson Button in his role as maitre d’.
“It’s overwhelming,” he said. “We have had such a battle this year but we are inspired not to give up. We are getting closer. I’m ecstatic. I didn’t expect this.”
The race came down to a 15-lap thrash after Yuki Tsunoda put the nose of his AlphaTauri into the wall at turn one with 20 laps to go. Hitherto Hamilton had a 12-second advantage over Russell in fourth. Though two victual safety cars were required earlier in the race this was the first sighting of the real thing.
Hamilton, who had made his final stop for new boots five laps earlier was on the radio asking what it all meant. The Mercedes pit wall assured him the laps behind the safety car would protect the pace that gave him that fastest lap before Tsunoda hit the wall. And so it proved.
The result adds a new twist to a paddock dynamic frothing with anger 24 hours earlier as the teams considered the safety directive handed down by the FIA on the eve of the race seeking a solution to the bouncing issues that have blighted the season. To what extent the cars might be modified and how any changes might be applied was the subject of heated debate among team bosses with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff taking a dim view of some in the paddock less impacted by porpoising.
Unsurprisingly championship leaders Red Bull and second placed Ferrari argued against mid-season changes on the grounds that they risk punishing teams who made best use of 2022’s radical return to ground force aerodynamics. Mercedes might not need to press their case with the same urgency should they reproduce their performance gains at their home grand prix at Silverstone two weeks hence.
That said Mercedes thought they had crossed their Rubicon in Barcelona before hitting reverse in Monaco and Azerbaijan. Indeed, a week ago Hamilton could barely walk after dragging himself out of the car in Baku. Here he said he was back to being young again, the back strong enough to tap dance in the paddock while lugging a sack of spuds on his shoulders.
Hamilton was quick off the line, keeping the feisty Haas of Kevin Magnussen at bay through the opening turns before settling into an easy rhythm. The departure of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez with a power failure eight laps in triggered the first virtual safety car and a dash to the pits for hard compound rubber. In came race leader Verstappen and Hamilton.
Sainz observed convention by doing the opposite to Verstappen to assume the lead, which sucked Fernando Alonso back into second and Russell, who also stayed out in strategic opposition to his team-mate, up to fourth. A second safety car ten laps later brought in Russell for a cheap stop, resuming in fourth ten seconds behind.
When Hamilton pitted for a second time with 25 laps remaining, Russell followed suit. That would have been that had Tsunoda not injected unforeseen jeopardy into the finale. Having endured a bucket load of bad luck this term, Hamilton was due a break. In the end he didn’t need it. He was never catching Sainz, but he had the measure of Russell to invert the narrative of his season.
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