Hamilton wins Spanish GP ahead of Vettel

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium. REUTERS Albert Gea

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium. REUTERS Albert Gea

Bottas was kept out and soon became something of a roadblock for the charging Vettel, who was hoping to build a gap to Hamilton while he had the benefit of the quicker tyre. On lap 35 Vettel pulled an aggressive move to pass Bottas by running onto the grass at Turn 1. "We lost four seconds".

"Of course I want to win Monaco but the importance is not the points but the actual win".

"This was the rawest fight I have felt in a long time. This is why I race and this is what got me into racing in the beginning".

Vettel, bidding for his third win of the season, looked in good position after jumping polesitter Hamilton at the start and building up a comfortable early lead.

Vettel stopped one lap later, but emerged alongside Hamilton to lead to a fascinating on-track duel between the two leading talents of their generation.

Their race-long battle included Vettel jumping Hamilton at the start and the two making slight contact at Turn 1 after Vettel exited the pits alongside the Mercedes driver.

Bottas clipped the rear-right wheel of Raikkonen as he went down the outside of the Mercedes at the first corner and the Ferrari bounced into the Dutchman. With this win, Hamilton has managed to cut short Vettel's championship lead from 13 to 6 points.

"It was very close when we came out. It was really close", he said.

After being edged into second place during a contest that delighted the crowd in Catalonia, Vettel said: "I was pushing".

"Also I don't carry drinks in my vehicle either to save weight so I'm not having a drink through the race". I had a good start but there was no were to go.

"We should have both been on the podium today".

"We're very happy when we have the chance to race Mercedes".

The pair were full of respect for each other after the race despite a couple of close calls during it. "I've nothing to moan about". Fernando Alonso crossed the line in 12th - his first finish of the season - but there was more misery for Britain's Jolyon Palmer, who limped home last. Raikkonen in turn crashed into Max Verstappen and suffered terminal damage to his auto, ending his race early.

However, that was not to be the end of their fight as Hamilton regrouped and came back a few laps later to fly past his rival and eventually hold onto first place for the remainder of the race.

The Red Bull driver and Raikkonen were unable to stay on the track and driving over a bump led to irreparable suspension damage.

"It's just unfortunate", Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.

"We tried to execute a one-stop which is why I was lapping slower at that point".

"Kimi couldn't control the vehicle and slammed into me".

Stewards investigated the incident and chose to take no further action. I was lucky I was getting a tow. "I'm pretty sure Valtteri had enough space".

The race turned static during a period of virtual safety auto, with cars forced to lap at controlled speeds while a Stoffel Vandoorne's crashed McLaren was cleared away. The German emerged from the pits after his final slot alongside Hamilton, the pair almost clashing at Turn One before Vettel pulled ahead.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finished third but 72 seconds behind Vettel.

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