Hamilton: I sensed Vettel was angry

Lauda: It's bullsh*t!

All but three of the last 16 races in Spain have been won from the top slot, leaving Hamilton with every chance of taking his second victory of the season on Sunday to cut Vettel's 13-point lead.

Mercedes, however, opted to run longer in the opening stint before switching to the mediums.

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.

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

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. I got a bit fortunate with Valtteri's problem towards the end of the race which bumped me up to third, but of course I'm still happy to be up there again and see all the smiles from the team.

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. "I have been racing for 24, 25 years and it feels like the first win". "He didn't give me much space, it was close".

"I didn't say anything bad [to him]".

"I'm here to race".

He said: "I lost out on the start and had to watch Sebastian fly by".

Wet forecast for the weekend's Strawberry Festival
The forecast may look a bit unnerving with rain chances almost every day, but no wash-outs or all day long rains are expected. In the afternoon we'll see cloud cover return, but not before we warm the air into the mid to upper 60s through the area.

"It was really close, I faked it on the inside, then went back on the outside and inside again, but almost lost the auto as I had DRS open - but it worked".

"Lewis saved the race with an incredible drive", said Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda.

Daniel Ricciardo brought his Red Bull across in a distant third place to complete the podium, his best result of the season. Pulling out a small lead, Hamilton eventually began chipping away at the Ferrari's advantage.

Vettel, with two wins in four races this year, has 86 points ahead of Hamilton on 73 and Bottas on 63, each having won once.

"I think our tyre choice was the right one, obviously Lewis sits behind, he has nothing to lose, there's no threat from behind so he might as well try to mirror the strategy from the first stop onwards".

"We tried to go for a one-stop race and I think it could have paid off without those two guys in front - Lewis (Hamilton) and Seb (Vettel)".

Hamilton took the chequered flag 3.4 seconds clear of the German, who did all he could to beat him with a thrilling move to pass the Briton's team mate Valtteri Bottas that will be replayed for some time to come.

"I was eight seconds ahead and then.I don't know how we managed to lose that", said Vettel, who made the most of Hamilton's poor start.

The race turned static during a period of virtual safety vehicle, with cars forced to lap at controlled speeds while a Stoffel Vandoorne's crashed McLaren was cleared away.

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