This is why I race, raves Hamilton

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The most important thing is that we were there. Hamilton's victory was contested by Sebastian Vettel who finished a close second, while Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing finished third in the race.

Equally as important, Ferrari showed that the upgrades brought by both title contenders to Spain canceled one another out.

The Finn, who claimed victory in Russian Federation, said he had no inkling of the power unit problem despite knowing that it was an old engine that had been re-fitted to his auto on Saturday.

Even as Vettel took the lead, it was a mixed start for Ferrari, as Kimi Räikkönen's Formula 1 vehicle was squeezed between those of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, causing contact that broke his and the Red Bull driver's suspension.

Vettel started the race at Circuit de Catalunya from P2, but was able to outdrag polesitter Lewis Hamilton on the run down to the first corner. The German emerged from the pits after his final slot alongside Hamilton, the pair almost clashing at Turn One before Vettel pulled ahead.

Vettel seized the initiative by passing pole-sitter Hamilton into Turn One but Mercedes turned the tables by switching strategies and pitting their driver for the second time under the virtual safety auto.

Lewis Hamilton is enjoying the intensity of his Formula One rivalry with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, even if the Mercedes driver recognises that the smiles could suddenly turn sour.

"I'm really happy to be spraying some champagne again", said Ricciardo. "We lost four seconds".

"He came out of the pits and I was a bit surprised that it was so close", Vettel added.

We had one more incident during the opening lap of the race, in which two veterans of this sport participated.

"The auto is good, the team is in great form", he said.

"That was a very tough race". They have been proving over and over in the last few years that they are the team to beat. A win would then be the best Ferrari could do to minimize the points loss to Mercedes, but doing this with a driver down-and thus fewer strategy options-would prove hard.

Teammate Bottas retired his Mercedes with a blown engine, letting the lone Red Bull inherit third place.

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said the knock by Bottas that cost Raikkonen an early exit was just part of F1.

"I think it was just an expression of how hard he was pushing", he said.

And his participation in the Indianapolis 500 rather than at the Monaco Grand Prix in a fortnight will no doubt be a welcome distraction.

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.

"In the end, we came out so close together which was very, very close into Turn 1, I gave Vettel space otherwise we would have touched". The German built a lead of around eight seconds at one point, before the Briton fought back, eventually making a decisive pass - but only after a punishing 44 laps.

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