Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

F1 Spanish GP: Hamilton: Vettel rivalry can be like Federer vs Djokovic

F1 Spanish GP: Hamilton: Vettel rivalry can be like Federer vs Djokovic

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

Ferrari missed the moment and pitted on the very next lap fitting necessary medium compound tyres with a "green flag" track at full speed, and as it happens Vettel emerged absolutely side-by-side with Hamilton into Turn One.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his auto during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Sunday, May 14, 2017.

Lewis Hamilton believes his battle for the Formula One championship with Sebastian Vettel is as intense as the on-court fights between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Both Raikkonen and Verstappen were unable to continue, and while Bottas solidered on - indeed he played a crucial role in assisting Hamilton's victory by holding Vettel up in the opening phase of the race - he later retired when his Mercedes engine expired. "I have been racing for 24, 25 years and it feels like the first win".

"What I loved about the race with Sebastian is I love tennis and I love watching Federer and Djokovic in the final, and what I really admire is consistency", Hamilton said. I was just guessing on the braking but there was no room for him. The net loss of the first pit stops was clear to see on the timing screens, but Mercedes was playing the long game.

Hamilton's second win in five races this season cut Vettel's lead from 13 points to six heading into the Monaco GP.

Daniel Ricciardo brought his Red Bull across in a distant third place to complete the podium, his best result of the season.

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But he added: "If elected prime minister, I will do everything necessary to protect the safety and security of our people and our country".

Starting from fourth and fifth, Kimi Raikkonen and 2016 race victor Max Verstappen came together when trying to squeeze around the first turn with Bottas alongside them. Bottas bumped Kimi Raikkonen on the first turn, sending his Ferrari into Max Verstappen's Red Bull, damaging both cars' front suspension.

"It all started when I got hit, my vehicle jumped a bit and you can not control after that", Raikkonen said. It was all getting pretty punchy as Bottas steered the widest Mercedes in motorsport until Vettel finally sold him a dummy with a fearless lunge into Turn One, but he'd lost crucial time.

Vettel's Ferrari was a mere 0.051 seconds slower than Hamilton in Saturday's qualifying.

Hamilton and Vettel banged wheels after the Mercedes man emerged from the pits alongside the red vehicle.

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. "At the end I was able to manage the soft tires". "We just had a very close battle today and if it had gone a different direction, it would have been different between us", said Hamilton, who went wheel-to-wheel with the German after Vettel's final pitstop and sounded breathless at times. "I was doing what I could to stay in front, but as soon as I was alone he just flew past". "He drove a good race and we did everything we could".

Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber), Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) and Romain Grosjean (Haas) rounded out the points. He added his hopeful 12th-place finish to the leg of Spanish ham that a fan handed him over a barbed-wire fence while he was greeting his home supporters before the race.

Bottas was as cautious in Barcelona as he was inch ideal and committed in Sochi when it came to the first braking zone and this instinctively encouraged Raikkonen and Verstappen to overlap him when aiming for the first apex.

Stoffel Vandoorne crashed into Felipe Massa at turn one.

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