F1 2017 Spanish Grand Prix result: Lewis Hamilton reigns in Spain after 'rawest fight'
PUBLISHED: 18:46 14 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:00 15 May 2017
Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.
Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton won a tense and thrilling 2017 Spanish Grand Prix after the "rawest fight" with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.
The 32-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas driver from Hertfordshire took his 55th career F1 victory today, his second at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and second of the 2017 season.
After starting from pole position, Stevenage-born Hamilton lost the lead to Vettel on the run to the first corner.
But Mercedes’ strategy saw three-time world champion Hamilton take the chequered flag in Spain, setting the fastest lap of the race for the third time this season along the way.
Hamilton said: “It’s been a really good weekend and a great way to bounce back from Russia.
“It was the rawest fight that I can remember having in a long time. I loved it, this is why I race.
“This is what made me get into racing in the first place. This is what the sport needs to be like every single weekend.
“To have a close battle like that with a four-time champion is awesome.”
Hamilton won despite suffering another poor getaway.
He said: “I lost out on the start and had to watch Sebastian fly by.
“He was so fast out in front and it was such a push to keep in touch with him and not let him pull away.
“I was able to manage my tyres in the first stint and keep relatively close, then it was tricky to keep up on the Medium tyre and then after the second stop. We came out so close together, which was super tight into Turn 1.
“He didn’t give me much space, it was close!
“I thought Seb would get me at the end of the final stint but I was able to do it.
“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.”
Hamilton, with 98 points, has now closed the gap on Vettel (104 points) to just six points in the Drivers’ Championship, with Valtteri Bottas (63 points) a further 35 points back in P3.
Despite Bottas experiencing his first retirement as a Silver Arrows driver with a mechanical failure on lap 39, Mercedes lead the Constructors’ Championship by eight points from Ferrari.
Bottas said: “It’s been a tough weekend. We had problems straight from practice, when we had to swap to the old engine on Saturday morning.
“Then today we had an engine failure in the race. We don’t know any more than that at this stage.
“We knew it was a risk switching back to the old Power Unit in terms of the mileage, but we didn’t if we wanted to qualify yesterday.
“At least we got more points than Ferrari today in spite of the retirement.”
Looking back on the race, Bottas added: “The first corner was very tight. I had a good start but there was no were to go.
“I tried to avoid the collision but I touched Kimi.
“Lewis was on a different strategy while I was running long.
“We tried to execute a one-stop which is why I was lapping slower at that point.
“It could have been a rewarding strategy but with the Virtual Safety Car the guys in front had a free pit stop.
“We should have both been on the podium today. It’s always disappointing when you don’t finish but we’ll pick ourselves up and move on.”