• British driver leads standings ahead of Fernando Alonso
• ‘I’m definitely not going to change my approach’
Having celebrated his win at the Canadian Grand Prix by jumping into the Olympic rowing lake that sits aside the circuit here on the Ile Notre-Dame, Lewis Hamilton said he intends to maintain his calm and measured approach to the Formula One world championship by looking to achieve as much consistency in points as possible for the rest of the season. The British driver gained a stunning win, overtaking Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso during the last 20 laps of the race, that has launched him to the top of the standings.
He is just two points ahead of Alonso, three ahead of Vettel and nine in front of Mark Webber, but in a title race that is likely to go down to the wire he intends to keep scoring points to stay ahead of the pack.
“I’m definitely not going to change my approach,” he said after the race. “I think it’s working reasonably well so far. I probably definitely had to be more on the limit today to catch the two guys ahead, perhaps a little bit more risky than in the past but it is about consistency this year.”
“It’s unbelievable to see just how close it is,” he added. “We got a win and 25 points and I only have a two-point lead, so it’s incredible how close it is and I think it will stay that close throughout the year. Again, it just highlights how important consistency is.”
The McLaren driver scored well in the opening races, with three third-place finishes, and despite having frustrating races in the following three, he scored in all of them. Having kept the points stacking up, he stayed in touch with the tightly contested lead, which meant that when he finally reached the top step of the podium this year at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as the seventh different winner of the season, it was enough to head the table.
The win had by no means looked nailed on as Hamilton stopped twice and had to chase down Vettel and Alonso, who were gambling on only stopping once, but he remained confident he could pull it off. “I never had a doubt in my mind that there wasn’t a possibility to win,” he said afterwards. “But I was thinking that these guys are falling quite far behind so I assumed they are doing a one-stop, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to do a one-stop, so I’m going to keep on pushing, increase the gap…” His strategy worked, as first Vettel and then Alonso were tracked down and passed by the British driver.
The only negatives were some slow pit stops, which he acknowledged. “I had a couple of problems pulling away. It might have been my fault, I don’t know,” he said. “But otherwise the pit stops were great and finally we’ve got some good pit stops and of course we can keep on improving in every area,” he added.
He will be looking for similar from the team at the next race in Valencia, McLaren having been troubled by minor errors in the early part of the season, but for the moment they were simply revelling in the win that the principal, Martin Whitmarsh, described as “a majestic performance, by a master of his craft, at the peak of his form”.