Hamilton runs Vettel close

ENGLAND’S Lewis Hamilton insists he might have beaten Sebastian Vettel in yesterday’s Spanish Grand Prix if the race had lasted a few more laps.

Reigning champion Vettel claimed his fourth win from five races to cement his place at the top of the drivers’ standings, but was pushed to the end by Hamilton.

“A few more laps and you might have seen a different result,” said the McLaren driver, who now trails the German by 41 points in the championship.

“As the race went on we clearly had some serious pace, but it was very tough to get past Sebastian.”

Red Bull’s Vettel admitted he was relieved to take the chequered flag at the Circuit de Catalunya.

“Lewis gave me a hard time, so it was quite a big release when I saw the chequered flag,” he said. “I’m very happy.”

Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button recovered from an awful start to take third place, while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso led for the first 18 laps but was pipped to fourth place by Vettel’s colleague Mark Webber.

A strong showing in Barcelona has encouraged Hamilton that he and McLaren can earn their second win of the season in Monaco next weekend.

“I didn’t expect to be that quick today, we were quicker than the Red Bulls except in the high-speed corners, pretty much,” added the 2008 champion (left). “It’s positive going into Monaco, where the driver can make a difference.”