Hamilton wins Spanish GP ahead of Vettel

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates at Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo Spain

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates at Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo Spain

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his vehicle during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Sunday, May 14, 2017.

Lewis Hamilton declared "that's how racing should be" after beating Sebastian Vettel to glory in an enthralling Spanish Grand Prix.

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

Hamilton started from pole but had to fight back to win the race, thanks to a Mercedes strategy that closed the gap on Vettel and put Hamilton on a different tyre for the final stint of the race. "It was a tough physical battle with Seb and I'm so happy to get the win", he said afterwards. "The most important thing, though, is that we were in the fight; the team is in great form, we need to improve because we want to be ahead of them".

Hamilton's second win in five races this season cut Vettel's lead from 13 points to six heading into the Monaco GP.

Vettel finished 3.4 seconds behind Hamilton and was disappointed. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo came in third to clock his first podium finish of the season.

Vettel pitted a lap later but three-time world champion Hamilton had made up eight seconds and the two bumped wheels as the German rejoined the track into Turn One. Meanwhile, there was a slight contact between Bottas and Raikkonen that shunted the latter's Ferrari into the Red Bull of Max Verstappen who was trying to overtake them on the outside.

Up front, Vettel was 2.2 seconds clear of Hamilton at the end of the an incident-fuelled opening lap, and that is how it remained as the two championship protagonists traded times.

Mercedes sensed an opportunity and hauled Hamilton into the pit lane for his second and final stop.

His excellent jump from the start allowed him to pass Hamilton at the first turn.

The teams' tire strategy then came into play.

"Sometimes you have a bit of luck, like last year, sometimes you don't as we can see this year", Verstappen said.

"As I said, I didn't say anything bad, just be careful that it was very very very close but I enjoyed it and I was glad I was able to afterwards to have a battle, without any damage nothing lost between the two".

"I was doing all I could to stay in front, but then he just flew down the straight".

This makes Force India the only team so far this season to have both its cars finish in the points in each race. This would cost him a spot to Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz.

Massa finished in the 18th place, while the Spaniard was eventually 11th.

Verstappen was at the end of a chain of contact that ended his and Raikkonen's race.

Felipe Massa collided with both McLaren cars.

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