Hamilton wins Canadian GP

Montreal, June 11:

Lewis Hamilton’s learning curve just got shorter — a lot shorter.

The 22-year-old Englishman, the first black driver in Formula One history, added his first F1 victory to an already remarkable career start by winning the crash-filled Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.

And he made it look easy. Hamilton started from the pole, also for the first time. Apart from losing the lead for three laps when he made his first of two pit stops, he led all the way and was never challenged.

The youngster has six consecutive top-three finishes in six starts, something no other first-year F1 driver has accomplished. He is now atop the standings, eight points ahead of Fernando Alonso, his teammate and the two-time and reigning F1 champion.

The Mercedes McLaren driver’s only competition came from BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld. Heidfeld finished 4.3 seconds behind.

Alonso started alongside his McLaren teammate on the front row. He made a mistake on the start when he drove off the course in the first turn and allowed Heidfeld to dive past into second.

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. That set the Spaniard back to 14th, but he got back as high as sixth before two more off-course excursions slowed him. Alonso was passed two laps from the finish by Super Aguri’a Takuma Sato and finished seventh.

Hamilton, who came into the race tied with Alonso at the top of the standings, knows he will have to work to stay there, beginning next Sunday at the US Grand Prix.

Robert Kubica, a 22-year-old from Poland and Heidfeld’s teammate, was involved in a frightening crash just before the halfway point. Team officials first said he broke his leg and later said the driver was sore but had no apparent injuries.

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.