Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Hamilton dedicates Montreal win to legend Ali

Published:Monday | June 13, 2016 | 6:00 AM
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Great Britain, salutes the crowd after taking the pole position during the qualifying session at the F1 Canadian Grand Prix auto race on Saturday in Montreal.

MONTREAL, Canada (CMC):

Lewis Hamilton drove brilliantly to win his fifth Canadian Grand Prix here yesterday and storm back into contention for the Formula One drivers' title.

Hamilton started on pole at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve but was beaten into Turn One by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after brushing with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. However, he then out-strategised Vettel, with a one pit stop race plan, to take the chequered flag in one hour, 31:05.296 minutes.

Vettel was five seconds behind in second, while Williams' Valttero Bottas claimed an admirable third place.

The victory was Hamilton's second in a row following his triumph in Monaco, and it cut Rosberg's lead at the top to nine points.

The Brit, whose paternal grandparents are Grenadian, dedicated the victory to the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali, radioing his crew to say: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. That was for Muhammad Ali.

"I never really dedicate wins to anyone, but it's someone that's really inspired me so much throughout my life," said Hamilton, who climbed on top of his car following the win to engage in shadow boxing before jumping to the ground to entertain with the Ali shuffle.

"I was driving and I was just thinking of him and thinking maybe he would be watching the race, I don't know. So that's to him and his family. Rest in peace."

He added: "Obviously, in Formula One, there was no one of the same colour as us as a family, so it was another athlete for me to look up to.

"I think he was just a unique, iconic individual who had a character unlike anyone else's. And everyone aspired to be like him."

Ali, the finest heavyweight boxer ever, was laid to rest on Friday in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States.

Hamilton, who trailed Rosberg by over 50 points last month following a spate of mechanical failures that hampered his early season form, is now on 107 points.

Rosberg finished a disappointing fifth after dropping to ninth after lap one following his clash with Hamilton.