Hamilton wins Spanish GP ahead of Vettel

In Barcelona on Sunday slipped from pole to second at the start, recovered and passed Vettel s Ferrari to secure his second win of the season and reduce the German s lead to six points in the title race.

Vettel built up a strong lead, but solid pit strategy by Mercedes, a safety auto and a scarily spectacular piece of on-track aggression by Hamilton let him overtake Vettel on lap 46 and take the win.

"That is how racing should be", said a delighted Hamilton.

Next, Vettel engaged Bottas in an exhilarating lap-long chase before finally getting past the Finn on the third try, even though the effort slowed down Vettel and let Hamilton shave off valuable seconds from behind.

Hamilton was second but there was chaos behind as Bottas bumped into Kimi Raikkonen, who, in turn, ran into Max Verstappen.

For McLaren's Fernando Alonso, the result was a much positive one if not the best. When Vettel's next stop came he rejoined side by side with the Mercedes, kept the position but some tense laps followed. Vettel took on the soft tyre, the quickest, but less durable of the three compounds available here this weekend.

"Today we will enjoy the podium but tomorrow we need to understand how to further close the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes". Valtteri Bottas had made the best start of anyone but, knowing that there was no way past Vettel, jumped on to the brakes slightly earlier than most. On went the soft tyre and Hamilton was released.

"These guys (Ferrari) have done a phenomenal job, the pace they have, it is close between us", Hamilton said. The German now has 104 points and Hamilton has 98. After running slightly wide, Hamilton was heard over the team radio labelling such aggressive defensive maneuvering as "dangerous". He won it fair and square so I can't take it away from him.

Stewards investigated the incident but ruled that no driver was wholly to blame.

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Hamilton was not about to give up, however, and after gaining once more on the Ferrari he seized his opportunity on the 44th lap.

He just rushed near Vettel as he was standing at one place. "He was like a train". It forced the Ferrari driver on to the grass but was able to make the pass stick when they reached the first corner.

Sergio Perez finished fourth with his Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon an impressive fifth. Brit Jolyon Palmer, of Renault, was 15th of 16 finishers. "That is as close as it could be". Hamilton was 4.5s behind Vettel, he was assured of "opportunities" ahead by the team through their strategy.

Spain followed on from a hard Russian weekend for Hamilton, the Briton finishing fourth in an overheating vehicle.

"I was eight seconds ahead and then..."

"I got a bit fortunate with Valtteri's problem towards the end of the race which bumped me up to third, but of course I'm still happy to be up there again and see all the smiles from the team".

"I think I got the maximum out of the auto today and moving on to Monaco we will have a few more updates, which will hopefully give us another step, and at that track it's fair to say anything can happen". I was I was pushing the whole time, attacking all the cars that I had in front, trying different ways of attacking in the pit lane, in Turn 1, in Turn 5, but it just didn't work. Well done to him.

"This is what the sport needs to have at every single race, and this is why I race, and what got me into racing in the beginning".

  • Lawrence Cooper