Lewis Hamilton returned to his brilliant best as he produced an utterly dominant weekend of racing to cruise to a emphatic victory at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Hamilton led from start to finish to send out a statement of intent aimed at his rivals, particularly Sebastian Vettel, following an unusually disappointing outing at Monaco the previous weekend.
After a blistering qualifying lap put him on pole, the Mercedes man was in no mood to surrender his position throughout as he calmly drove to his third victory of 2017, cutting the gap on current leader Vettel to 12 points.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas overcame the challenge of others to claim a first one-two of the season for Mercedes, with the podium completed by Daniel Ricciardo.
“This has been an awesome weekend,” beamed a delighted Hamilton afterwards. “The Senna family presented me with one of Ayrton’s crash helmets for my qualifying performance, and the race went according to plan.
“I feel we had a great weekend, and the championship race is wide open again. Baku is next, which is an interesting and fast street circuit, and then it is Silverstone!”
The Mercedes team were not the only local Advertiser & Review region squad to shine in Canada, although it was felt that if Force India has played their cards slightly differently, they too could have been celebrating a podium finish for Frenchman Esteban Ocon.
Ocon looked faster than team-mate Sergio Perez towards the end of the race but wasn’t allowed to move ahead to close the gap to rivals.
As a result, Perez wound up fifth and Ocon took sixth, although it was obvious to those watching that Ocon was far from happy at the end.
Toro Rosso had a race to forget. Carlos Sainz crashed out on the opening lap, tangling with Romain Grosjean (Haas), taking Felipe Massa (Williams) out with him. Daniil Kvyat was also a race retirement with mechanical failure.
Sainz’s error has resulted in FIA Stewards handing the Spaniard a three-place grid drop for the next race in Baku.
“I said sorry afterwards and I didn’t see Grosjean,” he admitted. “He was in my blind spot and I never got to see him.”
Standings: 1. Vettel (Ferrari), 141pts; 2. Hamilton (Mercedes), 129; 3. Bottas (Mercedes), 93; 4. Raikkonen (Ferrari), 73; 5. Ricciardo (Red Bull). Next race: Europe (Baku) – June 25.