Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix [Picture: Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd].
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.
Hamilton punched the air with visible delight as he produced a thrilling fightback to take what could be a pivotal win in this year's see-saw championship, having initially lost his lead to Vettel at the start of the race.
"At turn one, when we made contact, I just felt like I ran out of road and I was on the outside...but that is racing, and I wouldn't have changed it for the world".
"This is what the sport needs to be every single race.to have that close battle with him, a four times champion, is awesome", added the triple champion. "I was a bit lucky that there was always a auto ahead giving me a bit of a tow, but as soon as I was alone he just flew past".
"It's great to have a battle and a fight with another team is so much nicer and more enjoyable because there's no tension within our team".
Vettel quickly opened a 2+ second gap to Hamilton and it seemed he may have continued to sprint away with victory.
Bottas was set for third before his engine blew on lap 39 promoting Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo - a huge 73 seconds behind Hamilton - onto the podium.
Valtteri Bottas, who won the last race in Russian Federation, was on course to finish third, but retired when his Mercedes engine expired with a third of the race to go. "Then we came together with Max but it all started from the first touch, so what can you do?"
"It all started when I got hit, my vehicle jumped a bit and you can not control after that", Raikkonen said.
Sebastian Vettel took the lead at the start. "We're never going to be happy to finish second, and I'd be concerned if he was because that's not what we exist for". According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are co-favorites to win, as each is listed at +137 to win.
The teams' tire strategy then came into play.
"A lot of the races that we do with the type of racing that we sometimes have to do, where you're saving fuel, like in the last race for example [in Russia], I couldn't push because the vehicle was overheating". Max Verstappen, who won the race a year ago, retired after a first-lap clash with Kimi Räikkönen. My second stint was also pretty good: I managed to get close to Valtteri who was all over the place with his tyres. "I was doing what I could to stay in front, but as soon as I was alone he just flew past".
- P7 for Pascal with the 5 second time penalty he moves in P8 - 4 points! Valtteri Bottas is third with 63 points, while Kimi Raikkonen holds the fourth place with 49 points.