Hamilton wins Spanish GP, Vettel comes second

Lewis Hamilton has said his titanic victory over Sebastian Vettel at the Spanish Grand Prix felt like the first of his motor racing career.

Pole-sitter Hamilton lost the lead to Vettel at the start only to regain the lead from the Ferrari driver in the final stages of a compelling race to seal his second victory of the year.

"After an unfortunate race for me it's important to focus and look ahead to Monaco, I'm hoping we can continue to improve and have a good fight there".

But an inspired strategic call from Hamilton's Mercedes team won him the race. "I was a bit lucky that there was always a auto ahead giving me a bit of a tow, but as soon as I was alone he just flew past". "They did a wonderful job with the strategy and the pit stops".

Bottas still played a major part in Hamilton's win, helping to delay Vettel long enough to enable the Briton to recoup vital seconds.

Third placed driver in this competition was Daniel Ricciardo, from Red Bull.

Vettel had a great jump from second on the grid, going past Hamilton to the first right-hand turn and staying in front just as his Ferrari partner's race ended.

It was not all good news for Mercedes, though, as a crash sparked by Valtteri Bottas resulted in the retirements of Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen after just one corner.

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"I was trying to get the most out of it, but seeing the lap times they were doing at the end, we have still got a bit to go".

But after labelling the German's tactics "dangerous", Hamilton got his own back just a matter of laps later when he charged past Vettel on the 220mph drag down to the opening turn.

"It could have been a rewarding strategy but with the Virtual Safety Car the guys in front had a free pit stop". The German now has 104 points and Hamilton has 98. That was attractive, for our process in the strategy group, at that stage we planned to do the opposite to Sebastian and then the magic call was the one to pit Hamilton at a time when it looked like the VSC would end so because Sebastian couldn't react in that case.

While Vettel used his two sets of faster tires first before finishing on the more long-lasting but slower ones, Hamilton used his more conservative tires after his first pit stop, allowing him to finish on the faster set.

Hamilton said: "I gave you space, otherwise we would have touched..."

"To have that close battle with him, with a four-time champ, is awesome", Hamilton, himself a three-time champion, said about Vettel.

The Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finished astern in fourth and fifth.

After a miserable Friday saw reliability issues beset Fernando Alonso's McLaren once again, the Spaniard sprung a surprise by reaching Q3 for the first time this season and qualifying seventh. Both the drivers carried on after the incident and Alonso managed to finish in 12th position ahead of Filipe Massa. But Raikkonen was also of the view that Bottas had triggered the chain reaction.

  • Tabitha Byrd