Hamilton wins thrilling Spanish Grand Prix

Italy's La Repubblica said the Spanish grand prix last weekend "rekindled memories of the past after years of boredom in formula one".

MONTMELO, Spain (AP) - Thanks to superior strategy and some help from his teammate, Lewis Hamilton tightened the early title race in Formula One after beating Sebastian Vettel to win the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.

But with the gap still around a second per lap, Ricciardo admitted it could take a long time before the team are battling for race wins again.

MercedesAMG's Valtteri Bottas, retired when his exhausted engine failed running 3rd late in the F1 race. "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. "The strategy was great, but it was the driver who won it".

The Brit now trails Vettel by just six points in the Drivers' Championship and their fight looks set to last the season with both Mercedes' and Ferrari's updates appearing to have matched each other in terms of time gained.

The victory, Hamilton's second of the season and the 55th of his career, was just what the doctor ordered after his drubbing in Russian Federation a fortnight ago.

Third placed driver in this competition was Daniel Ricciardo, from Red Bull. In fact, Sebastian Vettel leaped off the line from second position to snatch the race lead heading into the first corner.

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Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen collided with Red Bull's 2016 victor Max Verstappen and was out of the tournament whereas World Champion Fernando Alonso was forced to enter the gravel in a tussle with Williams's Felipe Massa.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen went out at the start after a collision with Red Bull's 2016 victor Verstappen. "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. Hamilton was pushed slightly off track but the British driver kept composure and finally managed to overtake Vettel on the main straight using DRS on Lap 44. Pulling out a small lead, Hamilton eventually began chipping away at the Ferrari's advantage.

"Every hit of that ball, just one misplaced or (in) the net can mean the whole game".

The teams' tire strategy then came into play.

"If we had had the same tires on, it probably wouldn't have been as exciting" Hamilton said. He blocked me, in the end I managed to get past, but by then I had lost an very bad lot of time. Hamilton now started to clock lap times that were in close proximity to that of Vettel, despite the fact that the Mercedes was running on slower medium tyres.

"I think I got the maximum out of the auto today and moving on to Monaco we will have a few more updates, which will hopefully give us another step, and at that track it's fair to say anything can happen".

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