Lewis Hamilton eyes Formula One title

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton sits eight points clear at the top of the Formula One world championship after a dream weekend in Montreal and he is now concentrating on winning the driver’s title.

Hamilton, racing for McLaren Mercedes, achieved his first Formula One victory after keeping his cool as his competitors skidded, crashed and faltered in Sunday’s highly dramatic Canadian Grand Prix.

Young Polish driver Robert Kubica was involved in an horrific high-speed crash but was later declared unhurt, allowing the 105 000 Canadian racing fans to celebrate Hamilton’s first victory.

”I’m on another planet after this,” Hamilton said. ”I simply can’t find the words to describe what it feels like to win my first Formula One race. While mayhem was happening around me I was able to keep my cool and focus.

”The next dream is obviously to win a Formula One world championship. It’s always good to bear in mind that I’m still a rookie and this is my first season. There are going to be some hard times.

”But at the moment it’s been consistent and that’s down to the team and all the people around me.”

After finishing ahead of Germany’s Nick Heidfeld and Alex Wurz, Hamilton (22) dedicated the win to his father Anthony, who has been the driving force behind his son’s racing career.

”I could see him in the crowd from the podium and he had a tear in his eye, so it’s obvious that he’s extremely proud,” Hamilton said after the race.

”You wouldn’t believe the amount of work he put into my career. He had nothing when he was younger, he lost his mother when he was young and just to see his family be successful is really a pleasure for him and I dedicate this victory to him.”

”That’s great,” a delighted elder Hamilton said of his son’s words. ”I’ve always believed he was a great person and a great driver. If you guys are feeling good, then I’m feeling a thousand times better than that,” he told reporters.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis was just as happy to praise his rookie driver. Hamilton has never finished off the podium in his six Formula One races and this latest achievement has confirmed his championship credentials.

”It was a textbook race from him. He didn’t put a foot wrong. He drove the car faultlessly. He didn’t have anything gifted to him. He won the race from start to finish. And that is a special win,” Dennis gushed.

Former World Champion Damon Hill, the last Briton to win in Canada, believes that Hamilton has the ability to achieve his driver’s title ambitions.

”He may be young and in his first season, but this guy is the real deal. If you’re good enough in this sport, you’re old enough — and boy is Lewis good enough,” Hill said.

”He’s leading the world championship and winning races, so his confidence will be sky high. He’s shown he can handle the pressure.

”We shouldn’t get too carried away, but we could be looking at the next British world champion.” — Sapa-AFP

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