Jun 14, 2016

    Hamilton pays tribute to Ali after Canada win


    BRITAIN'S Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian Grand Prix for the fifth time on Sunday and paid tribute to the late boxing great Muhammad Ali after cutting Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg's championship lead to nine points.

    "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. That's for Muhammad Ali," the triple world champion said over the radio after taking the chequered flag at a cold Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

    After parking, Hamilton did an "Ali shuffle" in another mark of respect for the former heavyweight champion whose funeral was on Friday.

    "I was just floating out there, the car was really floating," he said of his 45th career victory in Formula One.

    Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished second and Finland's Valtteri Bottas was third for Williams, but 46.4 seconds behind the winner.

    Vettel had made a lightning start from third on the grid to blast past both Mercedes cars and grab the lead of the 70-lap race at the first corner.

    Rosberg got alongside Hamilton, who made another sluggish start, but he refused to yield as they fought for the tight space and their wheels banged and forced the title leader onto the grass.

    Vettel, benefiting from the upgraded turbocharger Ferrari brought to the race, held the lead until his pit stop on lap 11 but the two-stop strategy was to prove the Italian team's undoing.

    Hamilton regained the lead for the final time when Vettel stopped for fresh tyres on lap 36 and despite the Ferrari showing quicker pace at times was never in a position to mount a challenge.

    Hamilton has taken 34 points out of Rosberg, who won the first four races, in just two weekends and will feel there is a growing momentum to his bid for a fourth drivers' crown after a difficult start to the campaign.

    Finland's Kimi Raikkonen was sixth for Ferrari with Daniel Ricciardo seventh in the Red Bull.