MONTREAL (AP) — Lewis Hamilton is still finding novel ways to win the Canadian Grand Prix.
The three-time Formula One champion earned his sixth victory — and third in a row — on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday, taking a clear path from the pole to the checkered flag to win by almost 20 seconds.
The new twist: Valtteri Bottas was second, the first 1-2 finish for the Mercedes teammates since they joined forces this season.
“I think experiencing it with Valtteri is definitely different,” said Hamilton, who was paired with Nico Rosberg for the previous four years. “I think the chemistry Valtteri and I have is different. I think the working environment we’ve both experienced this year is on a complete other level, on a professional level that’s been above any other year that I have experienced.”
A week after Mercedes missed the podium completely in Monaco, Hamilton completed 70 laps in 1 hour, 33 minutes, 5.154 seconds on a hot and windy day on Montreal’s Ile Notre-Dame. It was Hamilton’s fourth career Grand Slam — winning the pole, leading every lap, winning the race and posting the fastest lap, and he cut Sebastien Vettel’s lead in the championship standings from 25 points to 12.
Mercedes also moved into the lead in the constructors’ standings, passing Ferrari.
“Those are the results we need if we are going to win the championship,” Bottas said.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third for the third straight week, celebrating on the podium by drinking champagne out of his race-worn shoe. He then shared a sip with actor Sir Patrick Stewart, who was serving as the post-race master of ceremonies.
Vettel was fourth, an impressive finish after his right front wing was clipped by Max Verstappen at the start. The pit stop to repair the damage left the Ferrari at the back of the field just six laps in.
“We came out last,” Vettel said. “I knew we could recover, because we were quicker than the cars ahead. But you have to fight your way through the field, which is a lot of work; not easy.”
A bigger crash took Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz out of the race just seconds later . Sainz was given a three-spot grid penalty for the next race, in Azerbaijan, for his role in the crash that knocked him and Massa from the race and left Romain Grosjean with front wing damage.
Hamilton only saw the damage in his mirrors.
“I got a really good start, so I was generally in the clear,” he said. “Seeing the Ferrari further back, I thought, ‘That’s fantastic for us.'”
The pink Force India cars of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were fifth and sixth after battling each other on the track — and over the radio — for position down the stretch. After Perez was told to let Ocon pass so he could challenge Ricciardo on his fresher tires, he radioed back: “Let us race, man. Please.”
Ocon responded on his way in: “He cannot do that. That’s not fair racing at all.”
Native Montrealer Lance Stroll was ninth — the first-ever points for the 18-year-old rookie; Hamilton gave him a thumbs-up as he passed on the track.
“My first points! It is special. I will always remember it,” he said. “When everyone is there and everyone is happy it feels good, especially at home. I can’t think of a better place to do it.”
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso continued to struggle with his McLaren Honda. Despite a power deficit — exacerbated by a strong headwind in the straightaway — he was headed for a Top 10 finish before engine problems in the final lap forced him to park alongside the track.
He climbed out of the car and walked into the stands — much to the delight of the crowd, which swarmed around him.
“The grandstand was too far away, so I said I would not get there if I throw the gloves,” he said. “So I go a little bit closer to them. Once I was there, I could not go back.”
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