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Briton with much to ponder


LEWIS HAMILTON’S superb victory in Canada emboldened those who began to doubt his world title credentials this season.

After a campaign characterised by a slow car and poor team strategising both Hamilton and McLaren provided an emphatic response with a smart and triumphant two-stop strategy in Montreal.

“It’s five years since I first won here and it feels just as good. This for me feels like one of the best races I’ve had for a very long time,” he said afterwards.

Hamilton becomes the seventh different winner of the first seven grands prix of the season and now leads Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso by two points and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel by three.

The returning taste of glory was long overdue in light of the poorly planned pit stops that saw Hamilton slip from third to fifth-place in Monaco last month and restricted him to eighth in Bahrain in April.

Moreover, Hamilton has qualified on pole three times this season only to watch six different rivals take the chequered flag.

McLaren’s ineptitude was compounded by the technicality that saw the 27-year-old qualify in pole for May’s Spanish GP then relegated to the back of the grid for having insufficient fuel in his tank.

Hamilton admitted to suffering from “personal problems” last season but it was also evident that some of his more erratic and error-prone performances illustrated his desperate and frustrated attempts to keep up with the superior Red Bull of reigning world champion Vettel.

IN THE FAST LANE: The Briton behind the wheel

The German usurped Hamilton as the youngest world champion in 2010 and compounded that feat with the back-to-back titles that the Brit believes should be within his grasp.

Hamilton’s ability remains evident despite his winless run, to consistently reproduce the fluid and near faultless performances of his first two seasons, which must grate.

While he has curbed his excesses of 2011, it remains to be seen if McLaren can give Hamilton the car to consistently challenge Alonso and Vettel in the coming months.

His contract expires at this season’s conclusion and rumours of a move to Red Bull or Ferrari will grow in intensity as the season winds to its conclusion.

The team’s improvements have been timely and will need to be maintained at the European GP in Valencia later this month and beyond if Hamilton is to consider extending his 16-year association with McLaren.

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