F1 Grand Prix Of Canada

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Hamilton coasts to first career F1 win at Canadian Grand Prix

Jun 10, 2007 - 10:23 PM MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton claimed his first Formula One victory in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix - then admitted his dream of winning the world championship may have to wait.

The 22-year-old Hamilton's maiden victory came in just his sixth race and crowned an amazing start to a McLaren career that has already produced a record five podium finishes in his first five starts and a first pole position this weekend at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

The next step now for the young Brit is to hold onto the lead in the drivers championship standings, which he regained Sunday after entering with a share of the lead with teammate Fernando Alonso, the two-time reigning series champion.

"Now the dream is to win the world championship," said Hamilton, the first black driver in series history to win a checkered flag. "But at the moment we have to be realistic, and I think it's always good to bear in mind I am still a rookie, this is my first season and there are going to be some hard times.

"I hope there won't, but it is bound to happen. That's the way it goes. There'll be good days and there'll be bad days, but at the moment I'm pretty consistent and that's down to the team and the fact I've got a very well-grounded family and that's perfect."

Hamilton opened up an eight-point lead over Alonso, who finished out of the points after a torrid afternoon that included a 10-second stop-go penalty.

After capturing the pole on Saturday, Hamilton said it was the best feeling he had ever had. But Sunday's victory and finishing more than four seconds ahead of Heidfeld took Hamilton to a new level.

"I'm on a different planet, definitely," he said. "It's just really hard to grasp anything at the moment. First to get into Formula One, and with a team like McLaren, then five podiums and a pole. When I got the pole position here, I really did think this was my time.

"I've been ready for this for quite some time, ready for the win. It was just a matter of where and when. I have to dedicate this win to my dad. Without him this wouldn't have been possible."

Ferrari, McLaren's main rivals, had a disappointing race with Felipe Massa black-flagged for exiting the pit lane under a red light and Kimi Raikkonen having to settle for fifth place behind runner-up Nick Heidfeld, Alexander Wurz and fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen.

It also was a disaster day for Alonso, who was in trouble at the first turn when he drove wide. The Spaniard committed the same error twice more as he finished a disappointing seventh.

Behind Hamilton a dramatic race was unfolding, punctuated by four trips to the track by the safety car. Hamilton said he realized victory was in sight only over the final five laps when he became aware of problems with his car.

"I counted down the laps, five, four, three, two, one and each time I was getting slower and slower thinking 'stay off the curbs' because I was having some problems I only noticed towards the end," he said. "My steering was turning off to the left, so I just stayed off the curbs and apart from that the car was super. The last few laps was just a case of counting them down and it really was about enjoying it.

"I was trying to control myself because I wanted to just park the car and jump out and do cartwheels. But I kept it going and the fans were fantastic. This is my first time coming to Canada, and they really have been fantastic supporters. It was extremely emotional to get the win. It's been brilliant, first to get my first pole and then the first win."

Poland's Robert Kubica was involved in a horrific crash in his BMW Sauber, Massa and Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella were both thrown out of the race and only 12 cars finished.

Hamilton, accused earlier in the week of over-aggression off the grid by former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, got the perfect start off pole. He held his lead as Heidfeld stole a march on Alonso and tried to run down the inside of the young Brit heading into turn 1.

Alonso added to the drama when he ran wide at the first turn and cut across Hamilton to return to the track before rejoining the race in third behind Heidfeld.

Spyker driver Christian Albers, who had started from the pit lane after prerace problems, brushed a wall on lap 5, while Toro Rosso's Scott Speed had a minor shunt with Wurz on lap 9.

All the time, Hamilton was building his lead at the front, up to 10.3 seconds on Heidfeld by lap 14 with Alonso losing ground as he once again went off the track at turn 1.

The two-time world champion was again in trouble there on lap 19, as he went wide and through the dirt and nearly clashed with Massa as he rejoined the track. Massa, passing on his inside, did enough to avoid the trouble and was rewarded with third place as Alonso slipped to fourth.

Hamilton went into the pits on lap 22, surrendering the lead briefly to Massa, but then the safety car came onto the track as Spyker's Sutil made heavy contact with a wall and came to a stop on the curb, unable to reach a run-off area.

The safety car was barely back in the pit lane, however, when it was redeployed after a horrific crash in the BMW for Kubica, who headed towards the L'Epingle hairpin on lap 28.

The Polish driver appeared to clip the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, which sent his own car airborne. It plowed first into a wall before barrel-rolling across the track and sliding on its side along the opposite wall.

There were some nervous moments as Kubica was attended in his car, where he remained for some time. The crash sent debris from the BMW flying across the track as Kubica came to halt with only the left-rear corner of his car still attached.

As Kubica was being extracted from the wreckage and taken to the track medical center, stewards were handing out 10-second stop-go penalties to both Alonso and Rosberg for entering the pit lane as the safety car was on the track.

When the race finally got underway again on lap 33, Hamilton was left with the task of rebuilding his lead over Heidfeld. Kubica meanwhile was being taken by helicopter to Sacre-Couer Hospital for further examination.

Track officials and a BMW Sauber spokesman said he was "conscious and stable". The BMW Sauber spokesman added that Kubica was "okay and talking to doctors". Later unconfirmed reports suggested Kubica had a broken leg.

Hamilton made his second stop without incident just before Albers' eventful race continued on lap 48, when he ran off the track at turn 14 heading into the main straightaway, and his contact with dirt left debris from the car strewn across the track. It ended the Spyker's participation and brought out a yellow flag.

The next flag was a black one, when both Massa and Fisichella were judged to have left the pit lane on a red light.

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