Hamilton wins Spanish GP ahead of Vettel
- Author: Regina Holmes May 16, 2017,
May 16, 2017, 9:58
"I'm happy to be back on the podium today, it's the first one of the season for me which is nice but actually the race was quite a lonely one", said Ricciardo, who was on the podium for the first time since the Mexico Grand Prix last October. "I just really have to congratulate and thank my team". The pair had already duelled for the lead seven laps earlier when the Ferrari emerged from its second and final pit-stop alongside the Mercedes into the first corner.
For much of the fifth round of the season it looked as though Vettel would extend his title lead to 20 points after executing the flawless start to leapfrog his championship rival.
Australia's Daniel Ricciardo finished a distant third for Red Bull.
With Rosberg having won the first four races of the season before the Barcelona blunder, Hamilton was 43 points behind his team-mate heading to the Monaco Grand Prix, where he had not won in eight years.
Other than the battle at the front, the other major talking point was the first corner tangle between last year's Spanish Grand Prix victor Max Verstappen in the Red Bull and Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen went out at the start after a collision with Red Bull's 2016 victor Verstappen.
The race was ultimately decided when Hamilton, now back on softs, overtook Vettel's medium-shod Ferrari in the final stint. They brushed going through the first of two turns, with Hamilton going off momentarily as Vettel defended his position. This allowed the Mercedes team a free pitstop where they brought Hamilton in for the soft compound tires.
Hamilton says he was left out of breath but relishing the title challenge by the win. "We managed, we finished P7 from P12, and I enjoyed it, we were the whole time faster than the vehicle in front, never looking in the mirrors, and we managed to get there".
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It came within inches of ending in tears for Hamilton after he was forced off the circuit when attempting to pass Vettel for the lead. "In the end I think it was a balance, it was balancing on a knife's edge because you want to have the gap to avoid the undercut, but on the other side we had to make the tyres last 32 laps and it was just a big combination of team work and strategy and Lewis' driving". "I was doing what I could to stay in front, but as soon as I was alone he just flew past".
Sergio Perez who is representing Force India finished 4th and ensured that his points table kept ticking for the past 15 races successively.
Spaniard Carlos Sainz came 8th, but placed 7th, ahead of Russian Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean of Haas.
Fernando Alonso got his McLaren through to the checkered flag for the first time this season.
Ricciardo admitted he got a bit lucky as he inherited third place from Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas after the Finn's engine expired.
There was plenty of incident on the first lap, leading to Raikkonen and Verstappen colliding and both retiringWhy was it such a great race?
Stoffel Vandoorne then crashed into Felipe Massa at turn one.