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Hamilton wins controversial Canadian Grand Prix after Vettel penalty

Hamilton wins controversial Canadian Grand Prix after Vettel penalty

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Vettel was so enraged by the time penalty that handed Lewis Hamilton first place he switched the position numbers on the cars in the paddock after the race.

Lewis Hamilton won a controversial Canadian Grand Prix to extend his lead in the world championship as a five-second time penalty denied Sebastian Vettel a first Formula One win of the season.

The decisive moment came on lap 48 when Vettel, who was leading the race and seemingly on course for victory having started on pole, ran wide at turn four and re-joined the track via the grass, only just avoiding pushing Hamilton into the wall.

Race stewards ruled against Vettel and handed him a time penalty for an unsafe re-entry, meaning the Mercedes driver just had to stay fewer than five seconds behind, which he duly did to claim victory despite being the second man across the line.

"They are stealing the race from us," protested Vettel on team radio after being informed of the decision. "I had nowhere to go, I didn't see him. You go to the grass and you come back, where the hell are you supposed to go?"

Enraged Vettel switches position numbers on the cars

Vettel was so angry by what had happened that when he walked past the cars after the race he went over and took the number 2 marker board and placed it in front of Hamilton's car before taking the number 1 board and placing it in the empty space  where his car would have been.

Leclerc takes third

Vetttel's Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc finished third as he closely followed the drama at the front, but a double podium will only be slim consolation to Ferrari as Mercedes made it seven straight wins in 2019.

In a race of damage limitation, Valtteri Bottas was fourth having dropped to seventh on the first lap, eventually overcoming the Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, who were sixth and seventh.

The Finn also claimed a point for the fastest lap, but the result meant Hamilton – who earlier held off Leclerc to preserve second position on the first corner – increased his advantage over his Mercedes colleague to 29 points.

Max Verstappen started ninth and his patient game of starting on the hard tyres plus stopping later than the other contenders worked as he improved to end the race fifth, ahead of the Renaults and team-mate Pierre Gasly.

That was still the Dutchman's worst result of the season so far, with Gasly eighth in the other Red Bull followed by Lance Stroll – in his home grand prix – and Daniil Kvyat in the final points positions.