Lewis Hamilton buoyant after 'rawest fight' with Sebastian Vettel in Spain
Lewis Hamilton buoyant after 'rawest fight' with Sebastian Vettel in Spain
Hamilton edged Vettel for victory after a wheel-to-wheel scrap in the Spanish Grand Prix
20 May, 2017, 00:41
The Mercedes driver's 55th career win was hard-fought and tense, with Ferrari's Vettel seizing the lead from Hamilton at the start and in the hunt all the way as the tyre strategies played out.
"So we timed it perfectly, credit to James [Vowles, chief strategist] and the strategists, and that pit stop obviously was much faster than Sebastian's afterwards, and that was down to Lewis to take him on track and it was very tight on the exit with Sebastian, quite some racing going on there and obviously a very, very courageous move, then on the straight and taking the lead".
The 32-year-old Hamilton is second in the 2017 standings, trailing Vettel by six points, and it looks like the duel between Ferrari and Mercedes will continue until the final stretch of the 20-race season.
For the two-time world champion, the next stop is the Indy 500, while the Formula 1 circus moves on to the iconic venue of Monte Carlo in a fortnight where Hamilton and Vettel are set to resume their battle for supremacy.
"It could have been close, there could have been contact but fortunately I avoided it", Hamilton said. Seb was incredibly close and incredibly fast.
"The team did a great job with strategy; at the start I don't really know what went wrong, I need to sit with my guys, it wasn't good enough".
"I was surprised that when I came out we were so close", Vettel said.
Hamilton added: " It did not start off the greatest when I first came, but my appreciation for the country and its people has grown". Lewis and myself picked up wheel-spin straight away.
Hamilton and Vettel praised each other after on-track battle in Spanish Grand Prix
"What can I say? He was respectful and that stayed the same even at the end". But Lewis was fast, too.
"It was a shame, but it was a nice race". The two went wheel-to-wheel, but Hamilton was forced wide and Vettel kept his place.
That close encounter saw the Brit take to the run-off and concede the place to the Ferrari briefly, but five laps down the road Hamilton was able to catch and overtake the German for the lead, where he remained at the chequered flag.
Bottas, who claimed his maiden F1 victory in Russian Federation last month, retired when his engine failed while he was running third. 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.
"We're very happy when we have the chance to race Mercedes". Physically it was hard.
"It is a real privilege to race against someone as good as him".
Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished 3rd for Red Bull, more than a min behind the leaders, ahead of Sergio Perez and his Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon.
One of the best drives was that of young German-Mauritian Pascal Wehrlein in the Sauber.
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