"Somehow he managed to get a decent exit from the chicane, so I couldn't do it first time", explained Vettel.
Hamilton made it past, took the lead and never looked back.
Hamilton will now head to the next round in Monaco just six points shy of the man he is bidding to join on four world titles following a dramatic race in which the championship protagonists diced on track for the first time this season.
There was plenty of incident on the first lap, leading to Raikkonen and Verstappen colliding and both retiringWhy was it such a great race?
"It's great to have a battle - and a fight with another team is so much nicer and more enjoyable because there's no tension within our team". Vettel eventually got by, but by then Hamilton had clawed back a few valuable seconds. That meant Hamilton only gained a partial advantage over Vettel, but the late call prevented Ferrari mirroring Mercedes and instead Vettel had to make his final pit stop under normal racing conditions a lap later.
Wolff added: "It was not a flawless day: we lost one vehicle with a technical failure and Valtteri struggled with a damaged auto after the contact at Turn One".More news: 'English language losing importance in Europe'
In a heartwarming gesture, the youngster was later found by race officials and taken to the Ferrari team area to meet his hero.
This was to remove Stoffel Vandoorne's McLaren, which went off at the first corner after a collision with Massa.
The move was an inspired gamble with 30 laps still to go, a tough task on the soft tyre.
A lap later Vettel responded by pitting from the lead for a second set of soft compound tyres, forcing Mercedes to start thinking laterally about how to regain the lead. They brushed going through the first of two turns, with Hamilton going off momentarily as Vettel defended his position. We came out so close together which was super-tight into turn one. It was an unbelievable drive from Lewis, great calls by our strategy team, good defensive driving by Valtteri [Bottas], the fastest pit stops of the race and a quick, consistent upgraded auto.
After his victory at the second round of the season in China, Hamilton said he saw no reason for his amicable rivalry with Vettel to turn sour, but the 32-year-old Briton towed a noticeably different line in Barcelona.
Mercedes lost their second vehicle, however, just as Ferrari had, when Bottas' engine expired in Turn 6 on the 39th lap.More news: US homebuilder sentiment climbs higher in May
Hamilton's victory was contested by Sebastian Vettel who finished a close second, while Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing finished third in the race.
Behind them, Valtteri Bottas nudged Kimi Räikkönen who had a hard impact with Max Verstappen, knocking both drivers out of the race.
Finishing in fourth place was Force India's Sergio Perez followed by team-mate Esteban Ocon in fifth place.
What happened to Alonso?
"But obviously I lost out on the start, I'm not quite sure exactly what it was". Sebastian was incredibly fast, but the team did a good job with the strategy.More news: FBI director replacement process to 'go quickly,' Trump pledges
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