Hit the next page for the full results of the 2017 Formula One Spanish Grand Prix. It rewards and tests engine power, but the emphasis is on aerodynamic performance - making it a track where an F1 auto has a significant advantage over any other formula.
British driver Jolyon Palmer is just five races into his second season with Renault, but it seems highly unlikely he will be retained for a third year, or indeed survive the campaign, if his current form does not improve. Indeed the two drivers disagreed over whether they left each other enough room as they diced for the lead and Hamilton was forced off the track.
Vettel's and Hamilton's teammates both abandoned the race.
"This is why I race and this is what got me into racing in the beginning".
"It's definitely one of the favourites if not the favourite [battle] I'm having", said the three-time world champion and two-time runner up.
"I gave you the space", said Vettel, not giving up in the argument.
Further tweaking will therefore be required ahead of next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix on May 28, a race in which the team has only once failed to finish on the podium since 2010.
"This is what the sport needs to be like every single weekend". Ferrari too brought Vettel in for a set of medium tyres in lap 38. The pair had already duelled for the lead seven laps earlier when the Ferrari emerged from its second and final pit-stop alongside the Mercedes into the first corner.
The race was ultimately decided when Hamilton, now back on softs, overtook Vettel's medium-shod Ferrari in the final stint.
Hamilton's tire strategy paid off and guaranteed him a second victory over Vettel this season, but the German remains on top of the 2017 driver standings. Their quick-thinking ploy to pit Hamilton in the closing moments of the virtual safety auto period caught Ferrari on the backfoot and enabled the British driver to slash a near-eight second deficit to Vettel in the blink of an eye.
Hamilton's victory in Barcelona could prove to be pivotal in a championship battle with Vettel which has all the hallmarks of a classic.
"We lost four seconds", the Ferrari driver said.
Unsurprisingly, the two sector times were still the fastest of the race when the chequered flag fell 30 laps later and were almost over a second quicker than the sector times from Hamilton's official fastest lap two laps from the end.
"I didn't want him to win, I wanted to win, so I'm not entirely happy but at the same time I have nothing to complain or moan about as he drove past us on the track and they did a better job as a team". The opposite would be true at the end of the race, when Hamilton would have the faster compound to attack Vettel on the slower rubber. But the truth was that over six of those eight seconds had been down to the sheer pace of Hamilton's out lap versus his in lap and the other two could be accounted for by the advantage Hamilton gained by making his entry to the pit lane under VSC conditions.
The win leaves Hamilton six points behind Vettel in the drivers' championship and promises much for the season ahead.