Lewis Hamilton: “I was just so in the groove”

World © Octane Photographic Ltd. Mercedes AMG Petronas W07 Hybrid – Lewis Hamilton. Sunday 12th June 2016, F1 Canadian GP Race, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada. Digital Ref :1592LB1D3941

Lewis Hamilton took victory in the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix, after managing a one stop strategy superbly, and closing the gap in the drivers’ championship to Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team-mate Nico Rosberg, which now sits at just nine points.

After a poor start once again cost the Brit the lead off the line, he soon got back into the swing of things as he chased down the Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton was unsure what had caused the issue as the green lights went out, but did allude to possible further problems with the clutch in a post-race interview.

“I don’t know what happened at the start. My practice start before the formation lap was perfect and I thought “this is going to be a breeze, getting off the line”. But when it came around for real it felt like I was going nowhere, so I need to figure out what happened there.

“I then got massive understeer into Turn One with cars attacking from all sides and had an unfortunate tap with Nico. After that it was just about trying to hunt down Sebastian. He was lightning on the first lap and we both had good pace from there. Other than one small lockup into Turn 10 I didn’t make any mistakes all race, so I was really happy with that.“

Hamilton and Williams Martini Racing driver Valtteri Bottas were the only two drivers that were able to make the one stop strategy work, and the Brit managed his tyres superbly to always remain just enough ahead of the second placed car of Vettel.

“It was very much about managing tyres today and the team were spot on with the strategy call. I really enjoyed the race – everything went unbelievably smoothly. Every time Sebastian closed up I just had enough to keep the gap.

“Over the last 10-15 laps all I could think of was Muhammad Ali – float like a butterfly, sting like a bee – because it really felt like I was floating. For me, and everyone I’m sure, he was such an inspirational figure, so that one was for him.”

Hamilton has now won the Canadian Grand Prix on five occasions, making him the second most successful driver at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, just behind Michael Schumacher who took seven victories in Montreal, and the Brit considers the North American race one of his favourites of the season.

“I won my first ever race here in 2007 and this feels just as great. It’s such a blessing. Thanks to everyone who came out today. We come here every year and have the best week.”