Sport

Lewis Hamilton ‘excited’ to share podium with two world champions

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Great Britain, waves to the crowd during a suspended first practice session at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Friday, June 16, 2023. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Great Britain, waves to the crowd during a suspended first practice session at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Friday, June 16, 2023. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Great Britain, waves to the crowd during a suspended first practice session at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Friday, June 16, 2023. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Lewis Hamilton said he was honoured to be fighting two world champions after finishing behind Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso at the Canadian Grand Prix.

In his newly revamped Mercedes machine, Hamilton claimed his second podium in succession, a fortnight after he finished runner-up to Verstappen at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

“It is quite an honour to be up there with two world champions,” said Hamilton. “I was really excited to be third, and just trying to be in that mix.

F1 Canadian GP Auto Racing
F1 Canadian GP Auto Racing Lewis Hamilton finished third in Montreal (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

“We didn’t have the pace today. We knew this would not be our strongest circuit because we struggle in the low-speed corners, and that was where I was losing time to Fernando and Max.

“But we are chipping away and I do believe we will get there at some stage. Our pace was better today so we are going in the right direction.”

Hamilton scored just one top-three finish in the opening six rounds of the year but the seven-time world champion will now head to the next round in Austria on July 2 with the momentum of two strong showings in Barcelona and Montreal.

The 38-year-old started third, and was up to second at the opening corner after he breezed past a slow-starting Alonso.

Hamilton kept ahead of Alonso at the first round of pit stops, but he could do little to prevent the evergreen Spaniard from regaining second place on lap 22 of 70.

“Aston Martin took a step ahead of us this weekend with their upgrades but we are working on bringing more upgrades to move forward,” added Hamilton.

F1 Canadian GP Auto Racing
F1 Canadian GP Auto Racing Fernando Alonso, front, finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton, right (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

“It is great to have this consistency and to be up on the podium.”

For Verstappen, the Red Bull man completed an emphatic lights-to-flag victory to finish 9.5 seconds clear of Alonso and move 69 points clear at the summit of the world championship.

It marked the Dutch driver’s 41st win in Formula One – to draw him level with triple world champion Ayrton Senna – and a century for Red Bull.

“To win the 100th grand prix for the team is incredible,” he said. “It is amazing and I never expected to be on these kind of numbers for myself, too.”