Lewis Hamilton WINS Spanish Grand Prix after epic battle with Sebastian Vettel

His runner-up result means Vettel holds onto the lead in the Drivers' Championship by six points ahead of the Mercedes driver.

The Mercedes and Ferrari racers went wheel-to-wheel at times, including when Hamilton was forced off the track as he tried to pass Vettel, prompting him to complain about his opponent's "dangerous" driving.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his vehicle during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Sunday, May 14, 2017. Bottas nudged Raikkonen into Verstappen, with the contact damaging the front suspensions of the Ferrari and Red Bull.

He also thanked the Spanish crowd who despised him when he was teammates with national hero Fernado Alonso at McLaren. However, Ferrari chose to pit the German earlier in the race. Vettel took on the soft tyre, the quickest, but less durable of the three compounds available here this weekend.

Ferrari responded by pitting Vettel for the final time a lap later and as he came out Hamilton was pounding down the pit straight. He threw Bottas a dummy before taking to the grass on the 200mph run down to turn one and edging his way past for the lead of the race once more.

In an attempt to avoid being undercut by Mercedes, Vettel pitted on lap 15.

Hamilton finished the 66-lap contest 3.5 seconds ahead of the four-time champion German, having blasted past him to regain the lead after 44 laps.

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Vettel now has 104 points to Hamilton's 98.

Both Vettel and Hamilton managed to pass Bottas before fate intervened and a virtual safety vehicle was deployed following an incident between Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Massa. Hamilton got the lead, and once again the soft compound tire performed beyond expectations. Ferrari too brought Vettel in for a set of medium tyres in lap 38.

The race swung back to Hamilton when Mercedes pitted him just as a virtual safety vehicle - caused when Stoffel Vandoorne ended up in the gravel at Turn 1 after banging wheels with Felipe Massa - ended. Bottas clipped the rear-right wheel of Raikkonen as he went down the outside of the Mercedes at the first corner and the Ferrari bounced into the Dutchman. "We are creating opportunities later in the race", Pete Bonnington, Hamilton's engineer told the Briton from the Mercedes pit wall.

Australia's Daniel Ricciardo finished a distant third for Red Bull. Meanwhile, Bottas was forced to retire due to vehicle trouble.

Force India recorded their best performance ever, with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finishing fourth and fifth. Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein incurred a 5.0-second penalty for missing the pit entry bollard on his sole pit stop.

Hamilton will get another chance to tangle with Vettel in two weeks at the Monaco GP.

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