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McLaren controls F1 after another 1-2 finish

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button gave England (and the rest of Britain) something to smile with another impressive one-two finish at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The McLaren duo moved atop the world championship standings by dominating a tyre lottery from rivals Red Bull on Sunday, the day after England's World Cup opener went all wrong in a dull 1-1 draw with the United States.

"Shame Lewis Hamilton did not take to football," said the Daily Mail on Monday.

The Daily Telegraph said: "Perhaps (England manager) Fabio Capello should send for McLaren9s so-called dream team. They appear to have mastered the art of scoring maximum points." McLaren won an eventful race on the Montreal street circuit as their tyre gamble proved the winning Formula.

There were some raised eyebrows on Saturday when Hamilton raced to pole and Button to fourth on the grid with soft tyres. But Sunday showed that the hard tyres used at first by Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel (and others) started graining earlier as expected as their expected advantage was none at all.

"Clearly it was the right way to go. It was a choice for us to use the softer tyre and we felt comfortable with the fact that we might have to stop within the first 10 laps. We knew it might even be lap five," said Hamilton.

"We knew that we would be fast again once we got on the prime (hard). We didn9t know how long the prime would last but fortunately for us, whilst we did the prime runs, others like the Red Bulls had to do an option stop at some stage." Hamilton, Button and others pitted with less than eight laps done and again well before the halfway mark. Webber had a longer second stint but that was to no avail as he finished no better than fifth, behind the McLarens, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso and Vettel.

As a result, the second straight one-two has shifted the championship in McLaren's favour, with Hamilton now on top with 109 points ahead of the holder Button (106), Webber (103), Alonso (94) and Vettel (90).

Hamilton said the championship was far from over but that McLaren were doing better than Red Bull when it mattered, even though the Red Bulls didn't collide as two weeks ago in Turkey.

"Maybe they will still be a little bit ahead but we are continuously improving ... I have no doubts that we can close that gap and again pull ahead. But clearly on the race weekends we are doing a better job, both of us and the team," said Hamilton.

McLaren boss said Martin Whitmarsh said: "We have the two best drivers in the world right now ... "The team got it right and the drivers did a fantastic job." While Alonso continues to be a threat, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner expressed damage control when he spoke of "valuable points" won in a difficult race.

They must regroup quickly for the next race on June 27, the European GP in Valencia, Spain.

By then the Soccer World Cup will have reached the knockout stages and Hamilton and Button are upbeat that England will still be in the tournament.

"I think it's early stages of the World Cup, so I don't think there will be any disappointment ... Of course they are optimistic for the next games," said Hamilton.

Button said: "It's only the start, I'm sure. We're all backing the boys and hopefully the next couple of games are good also. "

Authors: Claas Hennig, John Bagratuni


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