MONTREAL, June 11 (Reuters) - There was no talk of underdogs at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday as Lewis Hamilton led Mercedes to a first one-two finish of the season in a perfect response to Ferrari’s Monaco domination.
As the world champions returned to the top of the constructors’ championship, eight points ahead of their Italian rivals, they served notice that they are still the team to beat.
Hamilton claimed his sixth Canadian victory, and third in a row at the sun-bathed but windswept Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, cruising home 19.7 seconds clear of his Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas.
“A cruise like we had today was something we didn’t have for a long time so I’ll take that,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who had spoken in Monaco two weeks ago of them being underdogs now.
“You can see the relief in the team that we’ve bounced back after such a difficult weekend, it’s just what the doctor ordered.”
The mood was not nearly as upbeat when Mercedes arrived in Montreal on the back of a miserable Monaco where triple world champion Hamilton qualified 13th and finished seventh, with Bottas fourth.
Ferrari, with championship leader Sebastian Vettel chalking up his third win in six races, had just scored their first one-two finish since 2010.
The situation was reversed on Sunday, with Vettel dropping well down the field after having to stop and replace a damaged front wing before charging back to fourth. His team mate Kimi Raikkonen was seventh.
Despite coming to one of his favourite circuits, Hamilton went into the weekend with more questions than answers about the Monaco meltdown but Sunday provided plenty of comfort.
“I don’t think in the five years I’ve been with the team that I’ve seen them pull so well together and really work towards the same cause...and then come here and deliver what we’ve delivered — a great blow to the Ferraris,” said Hamilton.
While Mercedes quickly rediscovered their mojo, they will need to keep it with Vettel leading Hamilton in the drivers’ championship by 12 points.
“We came here, the car’s back to where it should be. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be like that every time, but I think we learned a lot,” said Hamilton.
“I think it should put us in a strong position from here moving forwards. We know which direction we need to be developing the car from now on.” (Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto)