Sport

Hamilton: I 'used everything' in Vettel battle

Hamilton: I 'used everything' in Vettel battle

Sebastian Vettel feels his rivalry with Lewis Hamilton is so amicable both on and off track is down to their "common passion" of pure racing.

"We'll have a tough fight and I love a challenge".

Hamilton appeared to have been rendered breathless by the gripping duel at one stage, the Englishman panting on the team radio, although he had recovered sufficiently to praise the contest after the race. "I was a bit lucky that there was always a vehicle ahead giving me a bit of a tow, but as soon as I was alone he just flew past". It was an incredible drive from Lewis, great calls by our strategy team, good defensive driving by Valtteri [Bottas], the fastest pit stops of the race and a quick, consistent upgraded auto.

Such a win - the 55th of his illustrious career - saw Hamilton cut Vettel's championship advantage to just six points after five races.

Daniel Ricciardo picked up his first podium of the season but team-mate Max Verstappen didn't fare as well, crashing out at the first corner of the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday. Max Verstappen, who won the race a year ago, retired after a first-lap clash with Kimi Räikkönen. Bottas nudged Raikkonen into Verstappen, with the contact damaging the front suspensions of the Ferrari and Red Bull.

"The start was not good enough, I got a bit of wheelspin".

Ricciardo was the only driver not lapped by the top two in a race after inheriting third, and his first podium of the year, from Bottas after the Finn's engine expired. "This is what the sport needs to be every single race and this is why I race, this is what got me into racing in the beginning so to have that close battle with him, a four-time champ is awesome".

Championship leader Vettel bemoaned the eight seconds he lost to Hamilton in the second stops but felt the Scuderia could not have done any more.

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As the German raced away from the pit lane he emerged wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton.

While Vettel used his two sets of faster tires first before finishing on the more long-lasting but slower ones, Hamilton used his more conservative tires after his first pit stop, allowing him to finish on the faster set. "He didn't give me much space, it was close".

"From turn one to the end it was flat chat", he told reporters, "those races are the most. you're just using everything you've got so for sure, in that first stint, for instance, to keep.to stay on Sebastian was a killer.

I don't know how we managed to lose that", said Vettel.

"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".

Spaniard Carlos Sainz came 8th, but placed 7th, ahead of Russian Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean of Haas.

Alonso starred on Saturday, qualifying seventh for McLaren Honda, but must be looking for reliability to come to translate that into his first points finish of 2017.


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