Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

F1 Spanish GP: Vettel explains 'common passion' shared with Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton won a strategic Spanish Grand Prix thriller on Sunday to cut Sebastian Vettel's overall lead in the Formula One championship to six points with a quarter of the season completed.

Despite starting on the dirtier side of the track, Vettel drew alongside Hamilton on the long run down to turn one before hugging the inside line to take the lead.

Bottas still played a major part in Hamilton's win, helping to delay Vettel long enough to enable the Briton to recoup vital seconds.

With the rest of the field way off the pace, the battle between the two drivers continued as they approached the final laps.

It was expected that Hamilton would pit on the following lap, but the British driver was told to stay out as Mercedes switched up their strategy. The established pattern at Barcelona was extended - but with a little bit more excitement than is usually the case.

Ferrari junior driver Charles Leclerc extended his F2 championship lead with a win and a fourth place in the two races at Barcelona. 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.

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

But Bottas did have an impact on the race, slowing Vettel down as he tried to pass the Finn, allowing Hamilton to make up time on the Ferrari.

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For much of the fifth round of the season here in Barcelona it looked as though it was going to be Vettel who would extend his title lead to 20 points after executing the ideal start to leapfrog his championship rival.

A year ago, Max Verstappen made history on the very same track, when he sped away to victory to become the youngest race victor at the age of 18.

"I lost two kilos [in weight during the race]", Hamilton revealed, having taken the chequered flag less than four seconds clear of Vettel. We don't want to battle with them closely, we want to be ahead of them. He would have to take solace in the fact that he helped the team achieve a win in the race despite failing to finish.

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said: "Shame for the end result, but we leave Spain knowing that we can count on a auto that is solid and very quick".

"That's how racing should be and I loved it", said a happy Hamilton, who raced side by side with Vettel at turn one after the German's final pitstop.

One of many breathless messages from the cockpit of auto 44 during the Spanish Grand Prix.

"I was doing everything I could to stay in front, but as soon as I was alone he just flew past me down the straight, which was a shame".

"Then today we had an engine failure in the race". His team mate Esteban Ocon finished fifth and Nico Hulkenberg from Renault has finished it in sixth spot.

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