Hamilton sees off Vettel in enthralling Barcelona battle

Lewis Hamilton cut Sebastian Vettel's lead at the top of the Formula One drivers' standings to six points as he won the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

"He was all over the place with the tyres, so they used him a bit to block me".

Both Raikkonen and Verstappen were unable to continue, and while Bottas solidered on - indeed he played a crucial role in assisting Hamilton's victory by holding Vettel up in the opening phase of the race - he later retired when his Mercedes engine expired.

Hamilton pitted on lap 21, taking a set of slower medium tires and rejoining behind Vettel in third.

There was even bigger trouble for Mercedes as overnight drama for Bottas resulted in him missing the majority of the session, leaving Hamilton to complete the bulk of the running for the team.

"It was the intensity of the fight", he said.

Valtteri said: "For most of the weekend we've had the edge on Ferrari but in Q3 they raised their game". The last lap was not quite as good.

All that physical training paid off as Hamilton's body held up to the strain. Vettel lost valuable time, about four seconds, having to battle his way past the Mercedes driver.

Hamilton then had to pass the Ferrari driver on track to win his second race of the season.

The mighty battle between Vettel and Hamilton started from the Turn 1 to the chequered flag.

"Then Lewis stayed out longer and did the opposite, mirrored the strategy whcih I knew at the end would be crucial".

Carlos Sainz Jr, who was pitched onto the grass when he went side-by-side with Kevin Magnussen as they exited the pits, was classified as seventh. The vehicle is very nervous this weekend, and we were unable to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, "he said".

"Lewis did a great job: it was tricky to put the sectors together today, and I'm not sure any driver had a ideal lap, but he did two times good enough for pole position in Q3 and really deserved it".

"He just blew past", Vettel said. But the team decided not to implement "Plan C".

"Why would Vettel leave Ferrari when he's winning?"

Felipe Massa collided with both McLaren cars.

Hamilton said: "That was a really intense qualifying". Vettel managed to block the inside line into Turn 1 for six more laps, but Hamilton's tyre advantage ultimately proved too hard to defend against on lap 44.

But on lap 25 Vettel made his move. "We did all we could".

"We were hoping that Lewis would struggle with his tyres but he didn't have any problems. We were never close enough". "I have been racing for 24, 25 years and it feels like the first win".

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