Hamilton wins sixth Canadian grand prix

Lewis Hamilton dominated the Canadian Grand Prix as dramatic action behind allowed him to cut Sebastian Vettel’s title lead to 12 points.

The Mercedes driver controlled the race from start to finish, leading home team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Vettel, meanwhile, could finish only fourth in the Ferrari.

The German dropped to the back when he needed to change his front wing, damaged by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the start.

He recovered well with some aggressive overtaking on a two-stop strategy and caught the battle for third place, in which Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was leading the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, with seven laps to go.

Vettel passed Ocon in a touch-and-go move into Turn One with four laps to go. An off-track moment a few corners later dropped him back from Perez but he made a daring late pass into the last corner with two laps remaining.

It was a sixth win in 10 races in Canada for Hamilton, who on Saturday equalled his hero Ayrton Senna’s mark of 65 pole positions.

“I had my first win here and my first pole,” Hamilton said. “So to repeat it again 10 years later is incredibly special.”

Hamilton vs Vettel – a battle denied

Hamilton and Vettel qualified alongside each other on the front row and were expected to stage a close fight in the race for superiority in a race the Mercedes driver really needed to win to boost his title hopes.

But the grand prix fell into Hamilton’s lap within a few seconds of the start.

Verstappen made an electrifying getaway from fifth place, threaded his way between the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Bottas and swept around the outside of Vettel into the first corner.

But the Dutchman slightly misjudged the move, and his left rear wheel clipped Vettel’s front wing as he claimed the corner.

The chaos which shaped the race

Shortly afterwards, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz tangled with Haas’ Romain Grosjean on the curving straight between Turns Two and Three.

The Spaniard lost control, spinning down the inside of the track and side-swiping Felipe Massa’s Williams in Turn Three, forcing Fernando Alonso’s McLaren on to the grass in avoidance.

That brought out the safety car for four laps but Ferrari waited until the restart on lap five to bring in Vettel and change his front wing and fit a set of super-soft tyres.

Vettel said he did not spot that the wing was badly damaged because the safety car came out before he had had a chance to get a proper feel for the car.

“I had a little bit of a feel out of Turn Six and then the safety car came,” he said.