In recent years, Mercedes has utterly dominated at the front, but this year Lewis Hamilton is fighting back at Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel's points lead after five races.
But, Vettel had to lament for wasting the lead he got at the beginning of the race.
Vettel built up a strong lead, but solid pit strategy by Mercedes, a safety auto and a scarily spectacular piece of on-track aggression by Hamilton let him overtake Vettel on lap 46 and take the win.
Hamilton added: " It did not start off the greatest when I first came, but my appreciation for the country and its people has grown".
"Also I don't carry drinks in my vehicle either to save weight", he continued, "so I'm not having a drink through the race".
"I've been racing for 24, 25 years and it feels like the first win". "This is what the sport needs to be every single race. To have those close battles with him, a four-time champion, is awesome".
Hamilton won despite suffering another poor getaway.
The win was Hamilton's second in Barcelona and ended a run of 10 different winners in 10 years.
"I don't know what went wrong at the start".
At the front, Vettel managed to pull away from Hamilton and established a satisfactory gap. Everything clicked and came together for us. "He didn't give me much space, it was close".
Sunday, Lewis Hamilton took the Chequered Flag and is back in contention for a 4th drivers' world title on his dramatic win at Barcelona.
"I thought Seb would get me at the end of the final stint but I was able to do it".
Hamilton emerged only slightly ahead of Vettel, Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen - the four covered barely by more than two tenths of a second - to set up the action for the kickoff to the traditional European season. The removal of the vehicle took three crucial laps and Mercedes waited until the last moment of it to pit Hamilton - the VSC ended as he crossed the white line in the pits - to prevent Ferrari capitalising on the slower speeds by mirroring their call.
Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate, Finn Valtteri Bottas, also retired when his engine failed while he was running third. He was tough and hard just to the edge and no more.
A year ago, Max Verstappen made history on the very same track, when he sped away to victory to become the youngest race victor at the age of 18. And with the combination of a tow and DRS he sailed around the outside of Vettel at turn one to reclaim the lead he had lost at the start.
"There was nothing me or Max could have done, when you get hit from behind in that way there's no way to avoid the collision", he said. I tried to carry speed and, for sure, we didn't collide on goal.
It meant that Hamilton would be on the quicker tyre after the second round of pit stops, allowing him to attack.