Hamilton: Never any doubts
Lewis Hamilton has insisted he never doubted he could win the Canadian GP even after returning to the track in third place with just twenty laps remaining.
Last Updated: 10/06/12 11:05pm
Lewis Hamilton has insisted he never doubted he could win the Canadian GP - even after returning to the track in third place behind the one-stopping Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso with twenty laps remaining.
Having been repeatedly assured that both Vettel and Alonso, who Hamilton had overtaken for the lead of the race just after the first round of stops, would also be two-stopping, the McLaren driver could have been forgiven for doubting the wisdom of the team's strategy given their unerring capacity for self-destruction this season.
Instead, the 2008 World Champion reeled off fastest lap after fastest lap to haul in first Vettel and then Alonso to retake the lead of the race with five laps remaining and claim his first win of the campaign.
"I loved every single minute of it and I'm really very, very grateful," Hamilton said. "I never had a doubt in my mind that there would not be a possibility to win.
"I was not able to do one stop, I think I would have fallen back, so I think a two-stop was just right. We went into the race knowing we would be doing two stops and when the guys were behind me I had a feeling that Fernando would be doing one stop. I knew I had to make a gap while looking after the tyres, even though Fernando was picking his pace up. It was one of the best stints I had.
"It's a phenomenon feeling to be able to give a performance like that."
Courtesy of his victory, Hamilton is the sixth different driver to lead the championship, two points ahead of Alonso with Vettel a further digit behind.
"It's still sinking in. It's been five years since I first won here but it feels just as good. I'm massively proud of the team for continuing to push. We had a couple of problems during the stops, they may have been my fault I don't know, but otherwise it was a great race.
"It feels great to finally be here on the top step. It feel like one of best races I've had for a very long time."
But in shocking and stark contrast, while Hamilton celebrated one of the best performances of his career, team-mate Jenson Button endured one of the worst of his. The 2009 World Champion even suffered the indignity of being lapped by Hamilton - and could offer no explanation for his lack of pace afterwards.
"I just had no speed at all. I couldn't look after the tyres, I had no pace. There was nothing there," said Button.
"It's been the same at the last couple of races. I don't know why it is. Normally it's something I'm pretty good at. I haven't got a clue what is going on. Every time we think we've some good ideas we don't seem to make any progress. I don't know why that is.
"I'm also driving around one and a half seconds slower than the leaders, one is my team-mate, and I don't know why because I can't push the car any quicker. I'm not that slower than them.
"So this was a terrible race, I've never had one like it, and they seem to get worse and worse. I'm pushing the car to its limits and yet I'm so far off the leaders. It's a little bit confusing. Every time you jump in the car you're confident and excited it's going to go well, and every time you make changes you think you are going to improve. But it's not happening.
"I'm confused and very lost. I don't really understand what is going on at the moment."
Nor does Button believe that it is simply the case that he is struggling to 'switch on' the Pirelli tyres.
"Definitely not, it's not a tyre issue. I can't be the only person that can't drive on these tyres. It's impossible.
"They're normally something I can work with and get the best out of more than most, but it's not the tyres. Looking at it I did three stops and most people did two or one, yet it's normally the other way round."