Hamilton delights in Spanish victory

Spanish Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton beats championship leader Sebastian Vettel to win thriller

Spanish Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton beats championship leader Sebastian Vettel to win thriller

Hamilton, a three-time world champion, won the race in 1:35:56.497, claiming the 55th win of his career, while Vettel came in second, just 3.490 seconds off the pace on Sunday, reports Efe.

Hamilton began on pole position but lost his lead to Vettel on the first lap.

"I have to congratulate my team today, with the strategy and the pit stops, as well as everyone back at the factory that has worked so hard to deliver these upgrades, enabling us to be so close in this fight with Ferrari".

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix on May 14, 2017 at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona.

It was a close-run fight between Vettel and Hamilton, but the Ferrari man won this particular battle, if not the race itself.

"We just had a close battle and if it had gone a different direction then obviously it could be different".

Hamilton knew exactly who to thank for his win, radioing the team before he was even out of the auto saying: "Fantastic job, guys. He did a better job as a driver so there is nothing we can do about it now". "At the end I was able to manage the soft tires".

"I gave you [Vettel] space otherwise we would have touched".

"What matters is that I am leading the championship after the last race of the season, and that's my thought process", Hamilton added.

Every driver, 1, 2 & 3 on the Podium, was lapped during a terrific race that saw Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and last year's victor, Max Verstappen, crash out on the 1st lap. The collision damaged the front suspensions of both cars, knocking Raikkonen off the track and forcing Verstappen to hobble back to the garage for good.

Hamilton then pitted six laps later while his teammate, Bottas, stayed out and briefly led the race ahead of Vettel and Hamilton.

Vettel said: "We're still here so..."

"I love tennis, I love watching (Roger) Federer and (Novak) Djokovic in a final, and what I really admire is the consistency", Hamilton said afterwards.

A key moment in strategy for both teams came on lap 34, as Stoffel Vandoorne crashed into Felipe Massa at Turn 1, beaching his McLaren in the gravel and triggering a VSC period, slowing the speed of every driver to a delta lap time.

An engine failure forced Bottas to retire in lap 39.

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. "We will take what we can for now and keep working at it, try and stay positive and keep motivated". "I tried to brake as late as possible". Fernando Alonso crossed the line in 12th - his first finish of the season - but there was more misery for Britain's Jolyon Palmer, who limped home last.

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