Hamilton finds a third way in Canada
Hamilton took the chequered flag behind Red Bull's race winner Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Montreal: Lewis Hamilton achieved a Formula One career first by steering his Mercedes to third place in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix, even if the podium was a bitter-sweet one for the Briton.
In his five previous visits to Montreal with McLaren, the 2008 champion had won three times and crashed twice.
On Sunday, Hamilton found a third way - taking the chequered flag behind Red Bull's race winner Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
For the third time in seven races this year, Hamilton finished third - highlighting the reliability and potential of an improved Mercedes that started the season quick over one lap but hungry for tyres.
However his inability to keep up with Vettel in the early stages, and to hold off Alonso at the end when the Spaniard overtook him for second place, underlined how far Mercedes still have to go to be regulars at the top of the podium.
"The car felt fantastic today and I had good grip for the low-speed corners but we just weren't quite on the pace of Seb and Fernando," said Hamilton.
"I was on the maximum that I could possibly drive and we got absolutely everything out of the car today.
"It would have been nice to have kept second place of course but Fernando was very quick today and it was difficult to keep him behind."
Hamilton's German team mate Nico Rosberg, who had taken pole position in the three previous races and won in Monaco, also struggled to keep up with the frontrunners and finished two places behind the Englishman.
"I think fifth place was probably my optimum today," he conceded. "Even if my race had gone perfectly, I wasn't able to match the pace of the guys in front."
Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn, who is at the centre of a controversial tyre test with Pirelli, was pleased with the overall result but also admitted the car was just slightly off the pace.
"The car performed reasonably well but we still had some anxiety about the tyre performance in the high temperatures, so we were managing the situation carefully, particularly in the opening laps of the stints," he said.
"Lewis drove a very strong race although it was a shame that he could not quite hold on to second position in the closing laps.
"However, that wasn't down to him but rather the fact that we still need to find a little more performance from our car to compete with Ferrari and Red Bull."