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Hamilton clinches controversial F1 contest in Canada

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Lewis Hamilton currently leads the drivers' standings.

Montreal: Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, driving for Mercedes, strengthened his lead in Formula 1 racing this season by winning the Canadian Grand Prix, the seventh of the year, at the Gilles Villeneuve racing circuit here.

Although Germany’s Sebastian Vettel – who had secured the pole position driving for Ferrari on Saturday – crossed the finish line first on Sunday, he was hit with a five-second penalty for making what was deemed to be a dangerous re-entry onto the track on Lap 48, with 22 laps remaining, a move that was reviewed by race authorities before the penalty was imposed.

With Hamilton pressuring him, Vettel ran onto the grass after going into Turn Three too hard, returning to the track right away just ahead of his rival, forcing the latter to brake sharply or risk being forced into the wall or off the track.

Hamilton was on the verge of passing Vettel, and quite likely would have done so, if he had not been blocked.

Race authorities reviewed the incident and informed Vettel of their decision to dock him five-seconds several laps later, whereupon the German blew up over the team radio, claiming that, “I had nowhere to go. Seriously, I had nowhere to go. They are stealing the race from us”.

As a result of the penalty imposed on Vettel, Hamilton – who had been in second place – emerged as the winner.

The other Ferrari driver, Monaco’s Charles Leclerc, came in third.

“Not the way I wanted to win,” said Hamilton, after being proclaimed the winner in the race of 305.27 km (just over 189 miles) with a time of 1:29:07.084.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was penalised in the same way for forcing then-Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen off the track last year in the Japanese Grand Prix.

This was Hamilton’s fifth race win of the year and the 78th of his career. He now leads the world F1 rankings with 162 points, 29 more than his Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, who finished fourth in Montreal

Holland’s Verstappen ended up fifth, ahead of the two Renault drivers, Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo and Germany’s Nico Hülkenberg.

The other Red Bull driver, France’s Pierre Gasly, came in eighth at the raceway on the artificial island of Notre Dame in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, with Canada’s Lance Stroll, with Racing Point, and Russia’s Daniil Kvyat, with Toro Rosso, coming in ninth and 10th, respectively.

The next Grand Prix, to be run in France, will be the eighth of the 21 that make up the world circuit and will take place on June 23 at the Le Castellet raceway.

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Arjun Maini set for debut at LeMans

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Arjun Maini will be the third Indian after Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok to take part at Le Mans.

New Delhi: Indian racer Arjun Maini will compete at the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend.

Maini will compete in the LMP2 category, which has 19 other entries, for British team RLR Msport. The 21-year-old will share racing duties with gentleman driver John Ferraro and the experienced Frenchman Norman Nato.

The Bengaluru-based driver is racing in European Le Mans this season. The other Indians who have been part of a Le Mans weekend are Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.

“Competing in one of motorsport’s biggest races is crazy! The atmosphere during testing alone was something special and I can hardly wait for the actual race weekend.

“The biggest challenge I will face is the fact that I will be in the car much longer than in any of my previous races and I hope to be as consistent as possible as this will be key is gaining a good result,” he said.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the biggest races in the year. With over a 150 drivers racing across various classes and a history that dates back to 1923, the race sees a footfall off over 250,000 people during the weekend.

Run on the historic Le Sarthe race circuit, which is known for its long back straight where cars can reach over 300 kmph, modern day competitors complete over 5000 kilometers during the 24-hour time period.

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Hamilton dedicates Monaco GP win to Niki Lauda

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Lewis Hamilton (centre) beat Sebastian Vettel (right) to win in Monaco.

Monaco: After earning a hard-fought win in the Monaco Grand Prix, British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton said he felt three-time world champion Niki Lauda, who died last week, was with him during the course of the race.

“When I was driving I thought, ‘what would Niki do?’ So I just kept going,” The Guardian quoted Hamilton, who started the race from pole position, as saying.

“I definitely felt like he was with me racing today. It was just incredible to see how much support there has been for Niki from across the world, how much respect and appreciation there is for him. As a driver my goal is to be one day as respected as he was. He left a great example and was a real hero to so many,” he added.

Lauda, who died on May 20, had played a key role in bringing Hamilton to Mercedes in 2013 and the two had become close friends.

With Sunday’s win, Hamilton strengthened his grip at the top spot of the 2019 driver standings. This was Hamilton’s third triumph in Monaco, following his successes in 2008 and 2016.

The Briton also admitted that it was the hardest race he has ever had.

“I think it is the hardest race I have ever had; it is in the top five.

“I appreciate a tough race. As an athlete you always want the toughest battles. I am going to enjoy my evening tonight. I can’t wait to call my dad and mum see what they thought of it.

“I will get a chance tonight to talk to Birgit to let her know how much I appreciate her and her support with Niki over these years,” the Mercedes driver added.

Ferrari’s German driver Sebastian Vettel came second ahead of Mercedes’ Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas after a five-second penalty sent Max Verstappen of the Netherlands (Red Bull) to the fourth spot.

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Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda passes away

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Niki Lauda who took the title for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977 and McLaren in 1984. Photo: Twitter

London: Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda has passed away, his family has confirmed. He was 70.

The legendary Austrian, who took the title for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977 and McLaren in 1984, died on Monday, nine months after undergoing surgery for a lung transplant, reports the BBC.

“(He was) a role model and a benchmark for all of us,” said his family in a statement.

“His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain a role model and a benchmark for all of us,” the statement added.

Lauda, whose famous rivalry with British F1 legend James Hunt inspired the Chris Hemsworth film ‘Rush’, will be remembered for his remarkable recovery and return to racing after being badly burned in a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix.

By the time Lauda ended his racing career in 1985, with his last race coming in Adelaide, he had competed in 171 Formula One races, winning 25 of them and standing on the podium 54 times.

In January this year, he spent some 10 days in hospital while suffering from influenza.

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