Vettel fight was F1 "as it should be" says jubilant Hamilton

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Spanish Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton believes his battle with Sebastian Vettel in Barcelona was Formula 1 "as it should be".

The two main championship rivals went wheel-to-wheel on track for the first time this year on Sunday, with the Briton able to use a faster tyre strategy to make the race-deciding move into Turn 1.

Hamilton, as his almost breathless radio messages often suggested, admitted his triumph in Spain was one of the toughest, yet most satisfying yet.

"Seb was so fast ahead, it was such a push to try to keep close to him and not let him pull away," he said about the early laps.

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

"This is what the sport needs to be every single race and this is why I race and what got me into racing. To have those close battles with him, a four-time champion is awesome.”

Initially, Hamilton called Vettel out on the radio when the two battled for the first time, claiming his very aggressive defence was "dangerous". However, in reflection, the 32-year-old played down the rubbing of wheels between the Mercedes and Ferrari

"In the end, we came out so close together, which was very, very close into Turn 1,” he said.

"I gave Vettel space otherwise we would have touched. It was close, it was cool.

"In the heat of the moment it's difficult to know from the outside, I felt like I ran out of road but was alongside. But it was how racing should be - I love it, I wouldn't change it for the world," he added.

In thanking his team for their race management, Hamilton did reveal some scepticism after the final stop.

"The team did a great job with the strategy," he said. This is one of the hardest races to keep up with him (Vettel), he drove fantastically well so it's such a privilege to race against him.

"The last stint, 25 laps, when they told me they [the tyres] had to do that I didn't think... I thought at the end of the stint he would come back but we managed it.

"These guys [Ferrari] have done a phenomenal job, the pace they have, it is close between us."