Lewis Hamilton says his battle with Sebastian Vettel at the Spanish Grand Prix was the "rawest fight" of his recent Formula One career.
After being beaten off the line by Vettel, Hamilton and Mercedes flipped its strategy around and were able to catch and pass the championship leader in the final stint. The fight included a wheel-banging moment at Turn 1 before Hamilton's pass as the two men thrilled the Barcelona crowd.
Despite being in championship contention for the past three seasons alongside former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, Hamilton cannot remember the last time he had such a pure battle for a win.
"I think it was just the rawest fight that I can remember having for some time, for which I loved," he said. "This is what the sport needs to be every single race and this is why I race, this is what got me into racing in the beginning so to have that close battle with him, a four-time champ, is awesome."
Hamilton's victory came after a puzzling weekend in Russia which saw the three-time world champion uncharacteristically out of sorts, finishing a distant fourth. The Englishman said the result was just what he needed, but pointed out he was a small part of the final result.
"I really just have to congratulate my team and thank my team for doing such a great job with the strategy and the pitstops and also everyone back at the factory with the upgrades, enabling us to be as close as we are to Ferrari. You know, it's been a really good weekend and to be able to bounce back from Russia is, was great thing."