Lewis Hamilton insists that the 2010 F1 season is proving to be the 'ultimate challenge' after moving to the head of the championship standings with victory in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Hamilton led team-mate Jenson Button to a McLaren 1-2 for the second successive race on a dramatic day in Montreal to move to the head of the championship standings with the British duo split by just three points at the top.

The top five are now covered by just 19 points after eight races and Hamilton admitted that the close nature of the standings was a sign of how challenging the current season is proving to be.

"You can see how tight this championship is," he said. "I don't know whether it's dependent on the new points system but the field is so close. All the best drivers are in the top teams and they're all very, very competitive so it's the ultimate challenge that I've experienced in Formula One - perhaps in Formula One history.

"There are so many of us up here, pushing right to the wire and I think inevitably that means that the championship will remain close. I'm sure there will be lots of ups and downs - hopefully not for us - during the rest of the season but let's hope that we're able to keep on the front line."

While his victory in Turkey was down in no small part to the incident involving Red Bull duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton's success in Canada came after McLaren beat its rivals on pace and the 2008 title winner was quick to praise the work carried out back at the McLaren Technology Centre as the Mercedes-powered team looks to beat its Milton Keynes-based rivals.

"I think we are clearly doing everything we can to close the gap to them," he said. "I think perhaps at other circuits where the downforce is a little higher, maybe the gap will be.... maybe they will still be a little bit ahead but we are continuously improving.

"The guys back at the factory are doing a phenomenal job, so 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, so hopefully we can continue with that. This is a special day for me as I won my first grand prix and to come back and repeat that after three years is a real pleasure."


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