Lewis Hamilton savoured his first Grand Prix victory but said his dream to win the world drivers' championship may have to wait.
The 22-year-old added a maiden victory to his list of achievements in just his sixth race in Formula One at the Canadian Grand Prix yesterday, crowning a dream start to his McLaren career which had already produced a record five podium finishes in his first five starts and a first pole position this weekend at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal.
Hamilton has an eight-point advantage in the drivers' championship over team-mate Fernando Alonso, with the world champion finishing out of the points in seventh after a torrid afternoon which included a 10-second stop/go penalty. And the Briton, who finished ahead of second-placed Nick Heidfeld and third-placed Alexander Wurz, said: "Obviously now the dream is to win the world championship.
"But at the moment we have to be realistic and I think it's always good to bear in mind that I am still a rookie, this is my first season and there are going to be some hard times. I hope there won't but it is bound to happen.
"But at the moment I'm pretty consistent and that's down to the team and the fact I've got a very well grounded family and that's perfect."
Main rivals Ferrari had a disappointing race with Felipe Massa black-flagged for exiting the pit lane under a red light and Kimi Raikkonen having to settle for fifth. Hamilton continued: "I'm on a different planet, definitely - it's just really hard to grasp anything at the moment. First to get into Formula One, and with a team like McLaren, then five podiums and a pole.
"And I got the pole position here and I really did think that this was my time."
Hamilton said the only concern was how well Alonso would fare, although he need not have worried. The Spaniard was in trouble at the first turn when he drove wide and he would commit the same error twice more.
Behind Hamilton a dramatic race was unfolding, punctuated by four trips to the track by the safety car. Poland's Robert Kubica was in an horrific crash in his BMW Sauber, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella were both thrown out of the race and only 12 cars finished.
Kubica is due to be released from hospital today having escaped serious injury. He spent last night in a Montreal hospital in a conscious and stable condition after clipping the Toyota of Jarno Trulli as their cars headed towards the L'Epingle hairpin on lap 28.
The Pole's car went airborne and plunged nose first into a wall before barrel-rolling across the track and sliding on the car's side along the opposite wall.
There were very nervous moments as Kubica was attended to in his car, before being airlifted away.
A team statement said Kubica had received the all-clear at the track.
Hamilton, accused earlier in the week of over-aggression off the grid by former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, got the perfect start, holding his lead as Nick Heidfeld stole a march on Alonso.
Jenson Button's problems with Honda reached disastrous levels when he was left on the grid, pushed to the pit lane by marshals before finally giving up hope of getting into the race when his rivals started lap two. Hamilton pitted on lap 22, conceding the lead briefly to Massa, but then the safety car came onto the track as Spyker's Adrian Sutil, then Kubica, crashed out.