BACK ON TOP: Three-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton

The win at the Catalunya circuit cut Sebastian Vettel’s overall lead in the Formula One championship to six points with a quarter of the season completed.

The Mercedes driver’s 55th career win was hard-fought and tense, however, with Ferrari’s Vettel seizing the lead at the start and in the hunt all the way to the finish as the tyre strategies played out.

The Brit took the chequered flag 3.4 seconds clear of the German, who did all he could to beat him.

On an afternoon that saw the two multiple world champions in a battle of their own with the rest so far behind they might as well have been in another race, Daniel Ricciardo finished 75.8 seconds behind the winner.

Ricciardo was the only driver not lapped by the top two in a race where both Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen failed to finish, retiring after a blown engine and first lap collision respectively.

After an incredible battle, Hamilton says: “I lost nearly two kilos during the race. It was a tough physical battle with Seb and I’m so happy to get the win.

“That’s how racing should be – Seb was incredibly fast.”

Vettel adds: “I was doing everything I could to stay in front. As soon as we were alone though, Lewis just flew past me.”

F1 Drivers’ Standings

1 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 104

2 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 98

3 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 63

4 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 49

5 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 37