Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton held off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to win a gripping Formula One Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.Β 

The pair were involved in a thrilling tussle, both in strategy and wheel-to-wheel action on track. Eventually a sharp pit stop from Mercedes and a brilliant overtake from Hamilton on Lap 44 swung the race in the Briton’sΒ favour.

Daniel Ricciardo was able to come home in third, as his team-mate Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen crashed out on the first lap. Valtteri Bottas also failed to see the chequered flag in his Mercedes, as his engine gave in on Lap 40.

Here is the result in full courtesy of the Formula One Twitter account:

Hamilton’s win means he is now just six points behind the Ferrari man in the race for the world championship.

After getting away well, Hamilton was left behind by Vettel in the second phase of the start.

Vettel got off to a fantastic start.

Vettel got off to a fantastic start.David Ramos/Getty Images

Further back, the start was catastrophic for Raikkonen and Verstappen, as they tangled, went off the track and each suffered race-ending suspension damage. Bottas, meanwhile, did brilliantly to avoid being caught up in their squabble, preserving third.

One spectator in the crowd was not happy to see Raikkonen’s race come to an untimely end:

Although, as we can see, the Finn was able to put a smile on the youngster’s face later in the day:

Back on track, at the end of the first lap Vettel had already built up a pretty sizeable advantage:

The early action changed the complexion of the race, with the Ferrari of Vettel setting a searing pace. It proved to be too much for Bottas to keep up with, as he dropped further and further back in third. Hamilton, meanwhile, was doing everything he could to cling on to the red car in front.

The first round of pit stops were fascinating. Vettel was called in first by Ferrari, with Mercedes expected to follow. However, Hamilton stayed out for longer than anticipated, and when he did eventually come in was a long way back on his rival.

Vettel and Hamilton were in close proximity throughout the race.

Vettel and Hamilton were in close proximity throughout the race.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

It meant Ferrari opted to stretch out to a two-stop strategy, with Vettel needing to use the medium tyre for the final stint.

A virtual safety car after Stoffel Vandoorne’s crash changed the course of the race again, though. Hamilton dived in to the pits under it in a smart tactical move, prompting a response from Vettel. When the German reemerged from the garage, on the slower medium compound, things couldn’t have been closer, per Sky Sports F1:

Hamilton was crawling all over the back of Vettel and on Lap 44 of 66, he unsurprisingly overtook the Ferrari with the soft tyres on. However, lasting until the end of the race on the degradable softs was going to be a big challenge for the Mercedes man, who was already complaining to his engineer of overheating.

Per F1 journalist James Allen, it meant there was a thrilling finish in store in Catalonia:

There was some talk on the Ferrari team radio of Vettel pitting again at this point to put on an even quicker tyre, with a huge gap to Ricciardo back in third. But the German stayed out on track, with Hamilton somehow clinging on to the soft tyres down the road.

In the final few laps, Vettel threatened to close the gap down, with hopes of the race win slowly slipping away. An error from Felipe Massa slowed the Ferrari down as he tried to lap him, though, meaning Hamilton had more than enough in the tank to clinch a pulsating victory.

That is how racing should be today,” said Hamilton after his brilliant win, per BBC Sport. “Seb was really fast. The start was not good enough, I got a bit of wheelspin. I will have to talk to my guys about that.”

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