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Hamilton triumphant in Montreal 10 Jun 2007

Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 10 June 2007 Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams talks with the media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 10 June 2007 The podium (L to R): Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber, second; race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 10 June 2007 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.07 crashes.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 10 June 2007 (L to R): Aguri Suzuki (JPN) Team Principal Super Aguri F1 Team celebrates sixth position with Takuma Sato (JPN) Super Aguri F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 10 June 2007

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton duly delivered his first Grand Prix victory in Canada, in dramatic circumstances in a race notable also for a massive accident that befell BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica, and no fewer than four safety-car interventions.

It all went right for Hamilton and wrong for Fernando Alonso at the start, as the two McLaren drivers scrapped with one another while also making sure fast-starting Nick Heidfeld didn’t get the drop on them.

Hamilton thought he had things covered until Alonso went flying down the outside heading to the first corner, but the Spaniard ran wide, over the run-off area and across his team mate’s bows, and for the second time in three races they narrowly avoided a collision. As Hamilton resumed the lead, Heidfeld got the jump on Alonso, who just kept Felipe Massa at bay. The Brazilian had been assaulted lightly by team mate Kimi Raikkonen in the melee, and lost a place to Nico Rosberg.

As Hamilton sped on to a remarkably controlled victory, a disastrous afternoon unravelled for his main rivals. Alonso went off a further three times in Turn One in an up and down run, suffering braking problems, and right at the end suffered the indignity of being overtaken by Super Aguri’s Takuma Sato, who drove splendidly to exploit all of the various incidents that occurred to take sixth place.

The first safety-car deployment came when Spyker’s Adrian Sutil smacked a wall out the back of the circuit on lap 22, the lap on which Hamilton first refuelled. Alonso and Williams’ Nico Rosberg came in on lap 23, before the pit lane was officially opened, and would subsequently drop down the order after serving their resulting stop-and-go penalties.

Then, just after the track went clear again, Kubica had a horrible crash in the very quick left-hander prior to the hairpin on lap 27, his BMW Sauber hitting the outside wall and then rolling all the way down to the hairpin entry. As the safety car came out again the Pole was released from the wreckage, mercifully conscious and lucid, and was hospitalised with a suspected broken ankle.

This time the safety car stayed out until the 32nd lap, and again Hamilton rebuilt his lead over Heidfeld. He stopped again on lap 48, a lap later than Heidfeld, and this time retained the lead. Then the third safety-car deployment came when Christijan Albers went off in the back chicane and littered the track with his Spyker’s discarded front wing. The track went green again on lap 53, by which time Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella were being black flagged for exiting the pits on the red light.

Just as it seemed things were settling down at last, Tonio Liuzzi hit the wall on the exit to the final corner, giving the FIA’s Bernd Maylander another five laps of work in the safety car. Yet again Hamilton opened up his lead again over Heidfeld, but the misfortunes of so many others, conbined with Alonso’s brake problems and a curiously dull performance from Raikkonen, had pushed single-stopping Alex Wurz into third place for Williams and the beleaguered Heikki Kovalainen into fourth for Renault. Raikkonen was fifth with Alonso thirsting after him, then came Ralf Schumacher in the Toyota and Sato. But Taku was flying and grabbed seventh from Ralf and then sixth from Alonso with two laps to run.

At one stage Mark Webber ran as high as second before falling back during the stops; he finished ninth on the super-soft Bridgestones, unable to resist Sato who was on the softs, which resisted graining better. Rosberg was another who should have had a shot at the final podium position, but for his pit-stop snafu. Later he and Jarno Trulli fell off in unison racing into the first corner, the German losing a lot of time before he got restarted.

Anthony Davidson’s strategy saw him rise as high as third in the second Super Aguri before a collision with a groundhog prompted a pit stop which caught his team by surprise, and a further stop put him way out of contention in 11th place ahead of Honda’s Rubens Barrichello, who was third after the final safety car period but dropped way down after his final pit stop shortly afterwards.

Trulli crashed in Turn One after his final stop, David Coulthard’s Red Bull had yet further gearbox problems, Scott Speed retired after running into the rear of Wurz early on, and Jenson Button never even started after his Honda refused to fire up on the grid.

All in all it was a hectic, even chaotic race, but Hamilton’s finely judged victory - which he dedicated to father Anthony - put him back in the lead of the world championship, with eight points over Alonso, and 15 clear of the disgruntled Massa. In the constructors’, McLaren extended their lead over Ferrari to 28 points, 88 to 60.