Hamilton fends off Vettel to clinch Canadian GP victory

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Lewis Hamilton stormed to his fifth Canadian Grand Prix victory on Sunday after fending off Sebastian Vettel in a race-long fight at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Pole-sitter Hamilton lost the lead to Vettel at the start, but perfected a one-stop strategy to defeat the two-stopping Ferrari driver by five seconds.

The result saw Hamilton cut Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg’s drivers’ championship lead to nine points after the German driver could only finish fifth, fighting back from an off-track excursion at the start.

From third on the grid, Vettel made a rocket getaway to sweep into the lead at the first corner as Hamilton focused on Rosberg in the sister Mercedes. Refusing to give up second position, Hamilton squeezed Rosberg onto the grass, causing the German to drop all the way down to P10 by the end of the first lap.

Vettel managed to forge a one-second lead over Hamilton in the early stages, but the Briton soon found his feet and began to reel the Ferrari driver back in. Further back, Rosberg’s fightback got underway at the expense of Fernando Alonso, but he was not able to close on Hulkenberg in eighth as quickly as he would have liked.

The race was neutralized behind the Virtual Safety Car on lap 10 when Jenson Button suffered an engine failure, forcing him to park his car up at the side of the track. Ferrari took advantage of this to bring Vettel into the pits and switch him to the super-soft tire, meaning he only lost 11 seconds through the pits as opposed to the usual 16. However, the move did commit Vettel to a two-stop strategy, and with Hamilton now in clean air, Mercedes now appeared to be in control the race.

Vettel soon put his super-soft tires to good use, quickly catching the Red Bull pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Verstappen was given the call to not hold Ricciardo up, but did enough to keep his teammate at an arm’s length. Vettel was able to ease past them both before Red Bull brought its drivers in, switching them to the soft tire that would last them to the end of the race.

Hamilton was the last driver who started on ultra-soft tires to pit, coming in at the end of lap 24 after seeing his lead over Vettel dwindle to just five seconds. He emerged in clear air in second place, 13 seconds down on Vettel at the front but safe in the knowledge his rival had one more stop to make.

In the race to complete the podium, Ricciardo found himself losing more ground on Verstappen after making the switch to soft tires. The Australian emerged from the pits behind Kimi Raikkonen – who was on an identical strategy to Vettel – and struggled to pass him, allowing Verstappen to escape up the road.

Ferrari had hoped that Vettel would build a gap over Hamilton before making his required second stop, but soon saw his advantage falling. Hamilton was able to produce a set of fastest laps as Vettel’s super-softs began to wear, allowing him to cut the gap to less than 10 seconds. Ferrari eventually admitted defeat, bringing Vettel in at the end of lap 37 for soft tires. The German emerged from the pits six seconds behind Hamilton and with 32 laps to catch him.

Vettel soon began to carve into Hamilton’s lead at the front, reducing it to around six seconds. The two drivers exchanged fastest lap times as the gap swung back and forth as teams began to grow concerned about the life of their soft tires. Red Bull moved both of its drivers onto two-stop strategies, while even Sergio Perez was unable to make his super-softs last to the end as planned. Would Hamilton be able to make his tires last to the end?

Rosberg’s difficult day took another turn for the worse when he suffered a slow puncture on his right-rear tire with 20 laps to go, forcing Mercedes to bring him in for a second time. The German emerged back out in seventh place with soft tires, leaving the race for P3 to Bottas and Verstappen, the latter now running on ultra-soft tires again.

Hamilton and Vettel’s battle had raged on all the while, the gap dropping to just 4.4 seconds. However, a mistake from Vettel on lap 56 saw him run wide at the final chicane, causing the gap to open up to almost six seconds once again with 14 laps to go.

Hamilton was able to manage the gap in the closing stages before crossing the line five seconds clear of Vettel to secure his fifth victory in Canada and the 45th of his F1 career.

Vettel was left to settle for second place after what was arguably Ferrari’s best performance of the season so far, perhaps ruing the decision to commit to a two-stop strategy early on and give up track position to Hamilton. Nevertheless, it was a sign that Ferrari can compete with Mercedes.

Valtteri Bottas did enough to score Williams’ first podium finish of the season, continuing his impressive record at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Verstappen put up a feisty defence in the closing stages to keep a charging Rosberg back, securing P4 for Red Bull. Rosberg had closed on the penultimate lap, only to spin at the final chicane, blowing his chances of getting ahead and leaving his championship lead at just nine points heading to Baku.

Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo were both left disappointed in P6 and P7 respectively, failing to match the pace of their teammates despite running identical strategies. Force India picked up another double-points finish as Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finished eighth and 10th respectively, the duo split by Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

Following Button’s retirement, Fernando Alonso was the sole McLaren to finish in P11 despite requesting to retire with a handful of laps to go. Daniil Kvyat followed in P12 for Toro Rosso ahead of the Haas duo of Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean, both of whom finished two laps down.

Marcus Ericsson had a quiet race en route to 15th for Sauber ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Pascal Wehrlein, while Felipe Nasr and Rio Haryanto were the last classified finishers in P18 and P19 respectively.

Eli Tomac wins Houston Supercross: Hunter Lawrence takes early 250 East lead

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With his 47th career victory and third of the 2023 season in Houston, Eli Tomac closed to within one win of tying Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time Monster Energy Supercross list.

Tomac rebounded from last week’s crash by earning the holeshot in both his heat and the Main. At the start of the big show, he couldn’t shake Aaron Plessinger in the first four minutes and actually was in the process of losing the lead as a red flag waved for a crash involving Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis when he overjumped an obstacle and landed on Ken Roczen’s back fender as they raced for eighth.

“That was a tough race,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien, referencing his loss to Chase Sexton in the heat. “And honestly, I was just beat down after that heat race and was searching quite a bit and was basically losing speed everywhere. I just rode better, straight up in the Main. I felt better.”

In their heat, Sexton passed Tomac at the two-minute mark and then simply rode away from the field. At the end, he had an almost eight-second gap on Tomac.

“It wasn’t great by any means,” Sexton told Jason Thomas. “I feel like the strengths I had all day, I really lagged in the Main event between the whoop and the sand section. I think I could have walked through it faster. It was still a good ride; it wasn’t great. I expected after the heat race he would be fired up.”

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Jason Anderson scored his second consecutive pole, but he was not happy to finish third behind the two points’ leaders.

“We should be thankful every time we get to be up here,” Anderson said. “They’re making it tough on me, but all I can do is give my best.”

Tomac had to withstand a red flag and the distant second place finish in his heat to win the Houston Supercross race. In the post-race conference, he indicated that he did not make any changes to the bike and simply rode better.

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb rounded out the top five.

Ferrandis was fitted with a neck brace, but still able to walk to the medical cart. He was still being evaluated by the medical staff as the night came to a close.


In 250s Hunter Lawrence entered the 250 East opener as the consensus favorite to win the championship this year with Christian Craig making the move into 450s and his brother Jett Lawrence in the West division. He answered quickly with a huge lead in Heat 1, but it almost went awry in the Main.

Lawrence got a good start, but he was passed early in the race by two-time MXGP champion (2020, 2022) Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut this week. Vialle passed Lawrence on the first lap. When Lawrence tried to pass him back, Vialle scrubbed speed off a jump and pushed Lawrence wide, over the Tuff Blox.

Championships are made out of Lawrence’s response. He kept his composure and did not overcorrect before methodically working his way to the front.

“We had a little off track excursion. I wasn’t sure how hard across Tom was coming so I thought I’ll just go left, but then saw that was the side of the track. Thankfully I didn’t hit the Tuff Blox and got back on track safely. … Good start; put myself in position.”

Click here for full 250 East Main Results

Making a move from the 450 class to 250s, Max Anstie had immediate success. He finished second in his heat behind Jordon Smith and lined up with a great gate pick. He had to overtake Vialle in the opening laps and lost ground on Lawrence, that cost enough time to keep him from pressing Lawrence. This is Anstie’s first podium in the United States

“Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this for a long time to come up on these steps and man it’s a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed the day and being on this 250, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. Everyday I’m learning.”

Smith backed up his heat win with a podium finish.

“It feels good to be back up here again,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time; a lot of injuries.”

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his debut in the 250 class was not unfounded. He finished fourth in his heat to advance to directly into the Main. During the early laps, he was circling the track in a podium position until a minor mistake sent him off the box. In the closing laps, he narrowly made an aggressive pass on Jeremy Martin and narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.

Martin held on to round out the top five.

Vialle was running in a podium position when went down with a 1:30 left on the clock. He ended his night seventh.

Chance Hymas was also making his 250 debut and scored a top-10 in eighth.

2023 Race Recaps

Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Houston coverage

Houston by the numbers
Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list