Hamilton wins Canadian GP in landmark victory
By Mike Harris
Rookie Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, the first victory for a black driver in Formula One.
In a race filled with caution flags, the 22-year-old Englishman won in his sixth F1 start and now has six consecutive top-three finishes.
"I'm just having a fantastic day," Hamilton said. "This is history."
The only one to give the Mercedes McLaren driver any competition during the 70-lap race on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's 2.71-mile road course was BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. He chased Hamilton all day without catching him. Hamilton beat Heidfeld to the finish by 4.3 seconds.
The youngster, the first driver to start an F1 career in such a formidable manner, scrambled out of his silver and red car, thrusting his arms in the air. He then jumped to the ground, trotted to a barrier and jumped across to dive into the midst of his crew, hugging everyone in sight.
"It's been a fantastic season already," he said. "We've had six podiums and I've been ready for quite some time for the win -- it's just been a matter of when and where. The team gave me the best car and I had no problems during the race at all."
Two-time and reigning F1 champion Fernando Alonso, who started alongside his pole-winning McLaren teammate on the front row, made a mistake on the start when he drove off the course in Turn 1 .
That was just the beginning of a very bad day for Alonso, who was hit with a penalty for pitting too soon during one of the full-course cautions and made two other off-course excursions before being passed two laps from the finish by Super Aguri'a Takuma Sato and finishing seventh.
Hamilton, who came into the race tied with Alonso at the top of the standings, will take the sole lead into next Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis.
"The next dream is to win the Formula One championship," he said. "But, bear in mind, I'm still a rookie and there's bound to be some bad times, too."
Robert Kubica, a 22-year-old driver from Poland, was involved in a frightening crash just before the halfway point. He escaped serious injury but was taken to a hospital for further examination after being removed from his battered car by medical personnel. Team officials said Kubica apparently sustained only a foot injury.
Considered one of the rising stars of the international series, Kubica was racing with the Toyota of Jarno Trulli and the Ferrari of Felipe Massa when he suddenly veered off course into the grass as they drove toward the hairpin turn.
Kubica's BMW Sauber slammed into the inside concrete wall, then somersaulted across the track in a shower of debris, hit the outside wall and came to rest with what was left of his car on its side.
The Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen were expected to pose a threat for the McLarens, but both had their own problems.
Massa was running fourth when he was disqualified, along with Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella, who was eighth at the time. F1 officials said they both ran a red light at the end of pit road during a caution period.
Raikkonen ran through the grass several times and struggled to a fifth-place finish, coming in behind the Williams of Alexander Wurz and the Renault of Heikki Kovalainen. Ralf Schumacher, driving a Toyota, took the eighth and final points position.