Lewis Hamilton edged Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to take honours in a dramatic Spanish Grand Prix, with the Mercedes ace calling their wheel-to-wheel scrap “awesome”.
Mercedes driver Hamilton started the race at the Circuit de Catalunya on pole, but was overhauled on the run to the first turn by Ferrari driver Vettel. The German pulled out a lead, with Mercedes electing to fit the slower medium compound tyres to Hamilton’s car at his first stop. Hamilton’s chances were boosted when Vettel lost time trying to pass the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who was running a different fuel strategy.
That helped Hamilton close in, and he made his final stop before Vettel. The German emerged from the pits after his final slot alongside Hamilton, the pair nearly clashing at Turn One before Vettel pulled ahead. But on faster tyres, Hamilton was able to battle past, claiming his 55th career win and moving to within six points of Vettel in the title race.
“It was the rawest fight I can remember having for some time,” said Hamilton. “This is what the sport needs to be every single race. This is why I race. To have that close battle with a four-time champ is awesome.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished third after Bottas retired with an engine failure. Max Verstappen, who won the race last year, retired after a first-lap clash with Kimi Räikkönen.
The next F1 race is the Monaco Grand Prix on May 28.