Hamilton enjoying the intensity of duel with Vettel

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Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, right, leads Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain through a corner during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Sunday, May 14, 2017.

On a number of occasions during Sunday's Grand Prix, it appeared that Lewis Hamilton was nearly breathless.

Hamilton won by a healthy 3.49 seconds second from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after a breathtaking duel to cut the German's championship lead to six ponts.

Hamilton's out-of-breath radio communication during his Spanish GP battle with Sebastian Vettel prompted questions about how physically demanding he had found the race, to which Hamilton revealed his deliberate lack of a drinks bottle. I had a good rhythm, and everything was fine, but it was really close. "It was a tough physical battle with Seb and I'm so happy to get the win", he said afterwards.

On a bump with Vettel at turn one, he added: "I felt like I ran out of road, but was alongside".

Fernando Alonso, starting in seventh after a miraculous performance in qualifying, dropped four places on the opening lap after he was edged off the track by his former Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa at turn two.

"My start was good, I saw Lewis struggle with wheelspin, and kept looking in mirror to see if anybody else had a better start".

It was Verstappen's second DNF of the season, but after watching the replays back, admitted it was just bad luck which eliminated him from the race he won in 2016. But Lewis was fast, too.

"It was a shame, but it was a nice race".

While the two F1 world title contenders live very different lives away from the track - with Vettel holding a guarded family life while Hamilton prefers to share his globetrotting exploits on social media - the Ferrari driver feels their rivalry is healthy given their bond over racing.

Earlier in the race Raikkonen and Verstappen retired after a coming together on the first lap, and it was Force India filling the gap with fourth and fifth for Perez and Ocon respectively. Not long after, Hamilton got past Vettel with a whole lot of time left on the super soft tires.

Hamilton then produced a great move to pass Vettel at the start of lap 44, powering past him on the outside of the straight, leaving his rival feeling helpless to resist. Physically it was hard. "That's why we race", Hamilton said.

The Finn, who picked up his first F1 victory at Sochi last time out, did not sustain any damage and faced no action from the race stewards, but an engine issue resulted in his eventual retirement.

Every driver, 1, 2 & 3 on the Podium, was lapped during a terrific race that saw Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and last year's victor, Max Verstappen, crash out on the 1st lap.

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