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"Float like a butterfly": Lewis Hamilton beats Sebastian Vettel to win a fifth Canadian Grand Prix

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"Float like a butterfly": Lewis Hamilton beats Sebastian Vettel to win a fifth Canadian Grand Prix
Jun 12, 2016, 9:27 PM

Lewis Hamilton dedicated his fifth Canadian Grand Prix victory to Muhammad Ali, as he beat Sebastian Vettel in and losley fought and tense encounte...

Lewis Hamilton dedicated his fifth Canadian Grand Prix victory to Muhammad Ali, as he beat Sebastian Vettel in and losley fought and tense encounter. The pair were at the top of their game to try to beat each other on different strategies. The Ferrari driver went for the fastest race strategy with a two stop, while Hamilton again had to make the tyres last for a long final stint to hold out for victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Vettel had seized the lead off the line by jumping both polesitter Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes with a lightning start from third on the grid.

While Vettel scampered into Turn 1 in first place, Rosberg attempted to go around the outside of Hamilton but was forced wide by the British driver and the pair banged wheels. Hamilton blamed understeer. Toto Wolff, the team boss described it as a "hard" manoeuvre.

Canadian Grand Prix 2016

Rosberg took the escape road and dropped to P9, which became P10 by the time he had completed the first lap.

This created an opening behind the lead two, with Red Bull not on the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari today. That lack of threat from behind led Ferrari to make its stratregy decision when the Virtual Safety Car was deployed on Lap 17.

Prior to that, up front, Vettel was attempting to pull out a significant gap, a trick he perfected in his Red bull days, but the German undid some of his good work by locking up and running wide at the final chicane, which cost him time to Hamilton.

The Ferrari driver tried to shake the world champion off during the opening ten laps and had a lead of just 1.2s when the Virtual Safety Car was deployed as Jenson Button’s Honda engine expired on the back straight and the Briton was forced to pull his McLaren to the side of the track.

Sebastian Vettel

Once it was cleared and just as the VSC appeared to be ending, Vettel dived into the pits and traded his used ultrasoft tyres for a new set of supersofts, a decision that was repeated a few seconds later by his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen, and meant both drivers were committed to a two-stop strategy.

Vettel re-joined in fourth, 11 seconds behind Hamilton, and he quickly set about catching the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, who had swapped places in favour of the Dutchman on lap one as they avoided Rosberg’s slow Mercedes at the exit of Turn 2.

On lap 17, Vettel dived down the inside of Ricciardo at the hairpin to seize third and he then passed Verstappen lap using DRS and his upgraded Ferrari power unit on the back straight on the following lap to run second, 9.7s behind Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton

Vettel had reduced that gap to 5.8s by the time Hamilton made his only stop of the race for soft tyres, which had been made mandatory in the race by Pirelli, on lap 24, and the German inherited a 13.2s lead.

Ferrari needed Vettel to extend that gap to make its two-stop strategy work, but Hamilton was able to keep pace on the harder compound.

Vettel came in for the final time on lap 37 and emerged 7.3s behind Hamilton with a 13-lap tyre life advantage, which set the stage for a thrilling conclusion to the race.

But although Vettel closed in on the world champion, Hamilton maintained his ability to manage his pace and the gap, although it had come down to 4.6s by lap 51.

Vettel continued his charge but then made a critical error at the final chicane on lap 56 when he locked up and had to go wide, which cost him 1.5 valuable seconds in the chase.

Sebastian Vettel

Five laps later, Hamilton had just set a personal best fastest lap when Vettel repeated his error at the final chicane, for the third time in the race, and the gap between the pair rose to seven seconds, which all but confirmed the Briton’s fifth win in Montreal.

Valtteri Bottas completed the podium for Williams, which is the first rostrum visit for the British team in 2016, after the Finn also made a one-stop strategy work on a day when the Red Bull drivers could not do the same.

Verstappen finished fourth after resisting a late race charge from the recovering Rosberg, who had lost more time making a second stop on lap 51 due to a slow puncture while making his way through the pack.

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg first tried to pass Verstappen into the final chicane on lap 63 but the Dutchman firmly repulsed the championship leader at that corner and the following Turn 1.

After some fuel saving, Rosberg tried the same move on the penultimate lap and he looked to have made it through using DRS when he lost the rear of his Mercedes under braking and spun dramatically onto the run off area at the final corner.

Fortunately for Rosberg, he was able to get going again without losing a place but Hamilton’s win means the German’s lead at the top of the standings is down to just nine points from 43 at the Spanish Grand Prix three races ago.

Raikkonen came home sixth after a battling race in the pack, with Ricciardo seventh after he had to make a second stop due to the heavy flat spots he picked up trying to keep Bottas behind on lap 36.

Valtteri Bottas

Nico Hulkenberg finished eighth for Force India, with Carlos Sainz ninth after rising almost unseen from 20th on the grid in his Toro Rosso.

Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten in the second Force India some way ahead of Fernando Alonso, who asked he could stop his McLaren in the closing stages but was overruled by the team.

Daniil Kyvat and Esteban Gutierrez came home 12th and 13th, as Romain Grosjean finished 14th in the second Haas F1 car despite risking Vettel’s wrath by holding up the Ferrari driver under blue flags in the middle stage of the race.

Marcus Ericsson was 15th for Sauber, just in front of the one-stopping Renault of Kevin Magnussen.

Felipe Nasr finished 18th in between the Manor cars of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto after the Brazilian was knocked into a spin on the first lap by Magnussen.

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa retired with a power unit problem in his Williams on lap 36, as did Jolyon Palmer, who retired with a water leak in the second Renault on lap 18.

Canadian Grand Prix results:

Pos

1 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 1h31m05.296s

2 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari +5.011s

3 Valtteri Bottas, Williams +46.422s

4 Max Verstappen, Red Bull +53.020s

5 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes +1m02.093s

6 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari +1m03.017s

7 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull +1m03.634s

8 Nico Hulkenberg, Force India +1 Lap

9 Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso +1 Lap

10 Sergio Perez, Force India +1 Lap

11 Fernando Alonso, McLaren +1 Lap

12 Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso +1 Lap

13 Esteban Gutierrez, Haas +2 Laps

14 Romain Grosjean, Haas +2 Laps

15 Marcus Ericsson, Sauber +2 Laps

16 Kevin Magnussen, Renault +2 Laps

17 Pascal Wehrlein, Manor +2 Laps

18 Felipe Nasr, Sauber +2 Laps

19 Rio Haryanto, Manor +2 Laps

- Felipe Massa, Williams Retired

- Jolyon Palmer, Renault Retired

- Jenson Button, McLaren Retired

What did you make of the Canadian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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