MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One team produced another strong showing at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton finishing in third to record the team’s fourth podium of the season, while team-mate Nico Rosberg claimed fifth.
Having started the race from second on the grid, Hamilton pushed hard in the early stages, but, like the rest of the field, could not match the speed of pole-sitter and eventual runaway race winner Sebastian Vettel. After seeming to be on course for a comfortable second place, he fell into the clutches of Fernando Alonso late-on, and the two rivals produced a pulsating battle that ended only when the Ferrari driver used his DRS to charge past on the main straight, with just seven laps to go.
A third place finish means that Hamilton has now broken his unique Montreal streak of either winning or retiring, however following a frustrating race in Monaco two weeks ago, the 2008 World Champion declared himself delighted to be back on-form.
“The car felt fantastic today and I had good grip for the low-speed corners but we just weren’t quite on the pace of Seb and Fernando,” he said. “I was on the maximum that I could possibly drive and we got absolutely everything out of the car today.
“It would have been nice to have kept second place of course but Fernando was very quick today and it was difficult to keep him behind. I got close to taking the place back but he was just that little bit too fast. Still I’m very pleased with third place and it was a strong points-scoring day for the team.”
Fourth in the standings, Hamilton now has a 20-point lead over teammate Nico Rosberg. From fourth on the grid, the German admitted that he could not match the pace of the sister Mercedes during the race, with worse-than-expected tyre degradation also causing strategy issues for the team.
“I think fifth place was probably my optimum today and, even if my race had gone perfectly, I wasn’t able to match the pace of the guys in front,” he explained. “The guys had a difficult decision to make at the first stop: we were worried about the warm-up of the harder tyres, so we went for the option to protect my track position against Webber and Alonso, but in hindsight it would probably have been better to go the other way because I could have run a longer second stint.
“I scored some good points and we know that there are areas where we can still improve our performance. But looking back to where we were a month ago, we have made some good steps forward. We are heading in the right direction and looking forward to the next race at Silverstone.”
Round 8 of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which runs on 28-30 June.