Lewis Hamilton claimed a contentious Canadian GP victory after race-leader Sebastian Vettel was handed a time penalty for almost colliding into his rival.

Vettel led the whole race from pole position but stewards gave him a five-second penalty for getting too close to the second-placed Hamilton when rejoining the track after running wide when battling the Mercedes.

They are stealing the race from us, said an irate Vettel on team radio, who was denied a first victory since August 2018 and Ferrari’s first of the season.

He added: This is not fair.

Vettel’s penalty was added to his final race time and Hamilton stayed within five seconds of the German at the chequered flag to take his third win in a row.

Hamilton is now leading the championship by 29 points after extending Mercedes’ 100 per cent record at the start of F1 2019.

That is absolutely not the way I wanted to win, said Hamilton, who was greeted with boos on the podium.

Vettel stormed off the race, skipping the post-race interviews, before returning for the podium. But before that, the German moved the #1 marker from in front of Hamilton’s Mercedes in parc ferme, and swapped it with his #2 one.

The people shouldn’t boo at Lewis, Vettel told Sky F1’s Martin Brundle. If anything they should boo at these funny decisions.

Ferrari have confirmed their intention to appeal the five-second penalty, though there is uncertainty whether it will be permissible.

Charles Leclerc finished third in the other Ferrari – with the under-pressure Italian outfit showing impressive pace throughout – while Valtteri Bottas was fourth for Mercedes, losing ground on his title rival Hamilton but collecting an extra point for the fastest lap.

Max Verstappen finished fifth for Red Bull, ahead of the impressive Renault pair Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg.

Lance Stroll was also a star performer for Racing Point, finishing ninth at his home race despite starting 17th.

Canadian GP race result
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
3) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
4) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
5) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
6) Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
7) Nico Hulkenberg, Renault
8) Pierre Gasly, Red Bull
9) Lance Stroll, Racing Point
10) Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso

Furious Vettel’s post-race antics

Vettel stormed back to the Ferrari motorhome straight after the race, skipping the post-race interviews

When returning to parc ferme, Vettel swapped the board on the Mercedes and Ferrari cars…

But in a touch of class on the podium, Vettel insisted the fans shouldn’t boo Hamilton

Penalty denies classic fight

What was most frustrating about the penalty for Vettel was the fact it put an end to what was shaping up to be an epic duel between two multi-world champions.

Hamilton had kept Vettel in his sights throughout the race before closing up to the Ferrari following the first pit-stops, when both drivers swapped medium for hard tyres.

Nine world championships between them and it’s gloves off now, said Brundle.

Hamilton turned a five-second deficit into a charge for the victory and was within DRS range of Vettel on Lap 48 when he ran wide at the Turn Three chicane. Hamilton claimed afterwards that he forced an error.

When rejoining the track, Vettel lacked grip and drifted towards the Turn Four wall where Hamilton was now heading, on the racing line. The Englishman said he had to back off to avoid a collision, and immediately complained to his Mercedes team, who reported the incident.

10 laps later, a decision was in. And it was a crushing one for Vettel and Ferrari.

Vettel was unable to pull out a five-second gap to Hamilton, and almost dropped to third place with Leclerc only six seconds behind his team-mate at the chequered flag.

Stewards explain why Vettel was penalised

‘The stewards reviewed video evidence and determined that Car 5 (Vettel) left the track at turn 3 and rejoined the track at turn 4 in an unsafe manner and forced Car 44 (Hamilton) off track.

‘Car 44 had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.’

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(c) Sky News 2019: Canadian GP: Lewis Hamilton wins as Sebastian Vettel pays penalty