Hamilton: Vettel duel "the rawest" in recent memory

Rufina Vignone
Mag 19, 2017

But an inspired strategic call from Hamilton's Mercedes team won him the race.

Feel of the day: After lap one, the FOM world feed zoomed in on a young boy stood in the grandstand, dressed in Ferrari gear, crying his eyes out at Kimi Raikkonen's early retirement.

It was Hamilton's second win of the season, and cuts Vettel's lead to six points as the big two pull clear of the pack in what's looking to be a dramatic fight for the 2017 championship.

The Mercedes driver came out on top after a race-long battle with Vettel, which included a flashpoint when they made slight contact at Turn 1 after Vettel emerged from the pits on the inside of Hamilton.

"It was just the rawest fight I can remember having for some time, which I loved".

Commenting on the wheel-to-wheel battle between Vettel and Hamilton, Wolff said: "First of all, that first defence was great, maybe a little bit on the aggressive side but that is racing". "I just really have to congratulate and thank my team". The first corner collision changed the complexion of the race but the extension of the the circuit's DRS zone aided overtaking at the front.

Australia's Daniel Ricciardo finished a distant third for Red Bull.

Hamilton said: "It's been a really good weekend and a great way to bounce back from Russian Federation".

The Red Bull driver and Raikkonen were unable to stay on the track and driving over a bump led to irreparable suspension damage.

"He was all over the place with his tyres so they used him a bit to block me". He was tough and hard just to the edge and no more.

Hamilton's tactical choice allowed him to switch to the softs on lap 36 with Vettel putting on mediums a lap later. "[Turns to Vettel and laughs] I gave you space otherwise we would have touched!" "At the end I was able to manage the soft tires".

Vettel, bidding for his third win of the season, looked in good position after jumping polesitter Hamilton at the start and building up a comfortable early lead.

"It could have been close, there could have been contact but fortunately I avoided it", Hamilton said.

"The laps after, I was doing everything to stay ahead".

Spaniard Carlos Sainz was eighth on the road, but classified seventh, ahead of Russian Daniil Kvyat who did a superb job for Toro Rosso after starting at the back of the grid, and Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Haas. Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Massa finished in the 18th place, while the Spaniard was eventually 11th.

For teenage star Verstappen it was a disappointing early exit after his heroics of past year, but for a young fan of Raikkonen the sadness was even greater as he was captured by the cameras bursting into tears.

The duo were boxed at the end of the virtual safety auto deployed after Stoffel Vandoorne's collision with Felipe Massa, meaning Vettel had mediums and Hamilton switched to softs.

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