Lewis Hamilton took his fifth career Canadian Grand Prix win to close the gap to championship-leading Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to just nine points as the German finished fifth.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel managed to take the lead at the start but could not make a two-stop strategy work and he finished second ahead of a hard-charging Valtteri Bottas who scored Williams’ first podium finish of the season.
Hamilton began the race from pole position but when the lights went out he bogged down slightly, as did fellow front-row starter Rosberg, and Vettel shot past around the outside to take the lead into Turn One.
The Mercedes drivers then tussled on the way into Turn One as they attempted to recover and as they banged wheels Rosberg was forced to cut the corner and he dropped to tenth.
Rosberg’s return to track forced Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to brake and that allowed his team-mate Max Verstappen to sneak through to grab third.
In P1, Vettel controlled the race until lap 11 when McLaren’s Jenson Button pulled over at the side of the track with a blown power unit. That brought out the Virtual Safety Car and Ferrari took the opportunity to pit Vettel for a set of supersoft tyres.
Hamilton, though, stayed out on his starting ultrasofts and the battle between his one-stop gambit and Vettel’s two-stop plan began.
The German had the pace to close Hamilton down but the Mercedes driver’s final stint on the soft tyres was such that there was no drop off in his pace and Vettel could not find the extra performance to beat the Mercedes’ man power and the low tyre wear he was encountering.
Hamilton eventually took his fifth Canadian Grand Prix win and his second race win in a row with five seconds in hand over the Ferrari driver.
“I had another really bad start, I’m not quite sure why, I think probably I overheated my clutch,” said Hamilton. “Sebastian and Nico got quite a good run down to Turn One, tyres are cold, big understeer, and I feel very grateful that me and Nico didn’t damage anything on our cars. And otherwise it was just trying to chase this guy down. He was so quick out there. The car felt fantastic and it was set up just right with great work from the engineers and mechanics.”
Bottas, meanwhile, enjoyed a superb run to third, with the Williams driver also making a one-stop strategy work. The Finn made the most of a difficult race for Red Bull and early in the race he passed Daniel Ricciardo to rise up the order and then cleared Max Verstappen to seize third. Bottas then sat in clear air for the remainder of the race to finish some 46 seconds behind Hamilton.
“As a team, it was really a strong one for us, really good strategy, really good pit stop; the time was perfect, the car felt really good today. I felt I was pretty on it today. So it’s great to be here,” he said.
Verstappen managed to hold onto fourth and late in the race the teenager showed great determination and skill in fending off sustained attacks from a hard-charging Nico Rosberg, who was recovering for a mid-race puncture.
After expertly placing his car in just the right spot to frustrate Rosberg’s assaults, the Mercedes man looked to have found a way past ujnder DRS on the run to the final chicane a few laps from home.
But Rosberg’s brakes let him down and he spun, leaving Verstappen to sail past and take fourth place. Rosberg managed to keep going and took fifth place.
Ricciardo was seventh having been held up by team-mate Verstappen early on and then he dropped back during the pit stops.
Eighth place went to Nico Hulkenberg, while Carlos Sainz took an excellent ninth place from 20th on the grid and Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten.
2016 Driver’s Championship Standing(points)
1 Nico Rosberg 116
2 Lewis Hamilton 107
3 Sebastian 78
4 Daniel Ricciardo 72
5 Kimi Räikkönen 69
6 Max Verstappen 50
7 Valtteri Bottas 44
8 Felipe Massa 37
9 Sergio Perez 24
10 Daniil Kvyat 22
11 Romain Grosjean 22
12 Fernando Alonso 18
13 Nico Hulkenberg 18
14 Carlos Sainz 18
15 Kevin Magnussen 6
16 Jenson Button 5
17 Stoffel Vandoorne 1