Lewis Hamilton says his pursuit of Max Verstappen in Spain meant he learned more about his title rival than “perhaps more than all the other races put together.”
Verstappen overhauled Hamilton into Turn 1 on the opening lap but the pair remained closely-matched through the first stint of the race.
Hamilton diverged strategically from Verstappen by making a second stop and ultimately reeled in and passed the Red Bull driver.
“I’m continuing to love this battle we’re having,” he said.
“It was actually a really good day, I learned a lot about Max today, perhaps more than all the other races probably put together, so this has been a good one in that sense.
“When you’re with people on track you get to see different things and watch closely, and obviously I was following relatively closely.
“I learned a lot about his car and learned a lot about how he uses it, so it was a good race in that respect.”
Hamilton was passed by Verstappen on the opening lap but explained that he did not feel the need to put up too strong a defence early on.
“I know Valtteri [Bottas] was starting third and the goal was to work as a team, so I stayed to the left,” he said.
“I think in hindsight there could have been a moment looking back that when Max moved in behind me for a second I could have pulled across and sealed the job there but I didn’t.
As we went into Turn 1 I made sure I gave as much space as I could to Max. In my mind it’s always a marathon not a sprint so I’m thinking of the long game.
“Sure, you could be a little more aggressive, [but] do I need to? I’m in the position I’m in because I don’t get too aggressive when I don’t need to be.”
Hamilton’s victory, his third of the season, moved him 14 points clear of Verstappen in the standings.