LEWIS Hamilton dedicated his Canadian Grand Prix win to the late Muhammad Ali, who died recently aged 74.
The Briton referenced one of the former heavyweight champion’s famous quotes – “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – on his slowing down lap.
He added: “Ali was someone who inspired me so much. I’d love to be able to dedicate this to him and his family.”
Hmailton is now just nine points behind championship leader and team-mate Nico Rosberg, who was fifth in Montreal.
Hamilton, who met Ali a few years ago, said he was constantly thinking of Ali in the last 15 laps of the race, adding: “It was really, really weird.
“I was driving and I was just thinking of him and thinking maybe he would be watching the race, I don’t know.”
Hamilton, the defending champion, described Ali as a “unique, iconic individual who had a character unlike anyone else’s”.
He added that he had admired Ali’s confidence and charisma, as well as his ability to “outwit and outsmart his opponents”.
Hamilton also said he wanted to be like Ali as a kid.
“Coming from a family of similar background in a sense of ethnicity, it was someone to look up to,” said Hamilton.
“In Formula 1, there was no-one of the same colour as us as a family, so it was another athlete for me to look up.”
Sunday’s win, the 45th of Hamilton’s career, followed his victory in Monaco, prior to which Robserg held a 43-point lead over the triple world champion.