By Martin Moravec, dpa
Montreal (dpa) – Lewis Hamilton gave Mercedes a seventh straight win with victory at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was slapped with a five-second penalty.
It was a fifth win of the season for Hamilton, the 78th of his career while the five-time world champion also moves level with Michael Schumacher on a record seven victories in Canada.
Vettel was punished after coming back from the grass in front of Hamilton while under pressure in a manoeuvre regarded as dangerous by stewards – and the German’s behaviour afterwards showed he was clearly angry.
“Where the hell am I supposed to go? I had grass on my wheels. They are stealing the race from us,” Vettel had complained over team radio.
Vettel had led from his first pole of the season but was relentlessly pursued by Hamilton.
But for a pit stop after 26 of the 70 laps, Vettal stayed in front, but Hamilton began to move within a second of the Ferrari driver with some 30 laps remaining.
Under pressure, Vettel went into the grass at a chicane and then blocked Hamilton in coming back onto the track, a manoeuvre the Briton called “so dangerous” over team radio.
Stewards investigated the incident and Vettel, while still leading, was slapped with a five-second penalty.
Vettel went on to take the chequered flag first but Hamilton was just behind him to enjoy the victory.
“That’s not the way I wanted to win,” Hamilton said. “I forced him into an error and he went wide and we nearly collided – that’s unfortunate but this is racing.”
On Vettel believing the penalty was unfair, Hamilton said: “That’s his opinion of course, I took the corner normally when you come back on the track you’re not supposed to go onto the racing line.”
Despite the penalty, Vettel did just enough to stay second ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc, while the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was fourth, the Finn notching a late fastest lap for the bonus point.
Vettel appeared to go off in search of the stewards after the race, and the glum-looking German then belatedly joined Hamilton and Leclerc before the podium celebrations.
Before doing so he moved the number 1 sign from in front of Hamilton’s car and replaced it with the number 2 sign.
There were some boos on the podium for Hamilton, who said: “All I can say is I didn’t make the decision, so I don’t know what they’re booing at.”
Vettel said on the podium: “People shouldn’t boo at Lewis. It wasn’t his intention to be in harms way, so people shouldn’t boo at him, they should at those who make the decisions.”
Of the penalty, he said: “It is not making our sport popular. People want to see us race, and it was racing. Just a shame when we have these funny decisions.”
The top 10 was completed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the Renault duo Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Huelkenberg, Pierre Gasly in a Red Bull, Lance Stroll in a Racing Point and Daniil Kvyat in a Toro Rosso.
Hamilton extends his lead in the drivers’ standings. moving to 162 points, 30 ahead of Bottas. Vettel is on 100 and Verstappen on 88.
Formula One now moves to the French Grand Prix on June 23.