Lewis Hamilton says he is "grateful" he managed to recover to finish second in the Spanish Grand Prix, after one of the worst starts he has had for a "long time".

Hamilton had hoped to try and challenge team-mate and eventual winner, Nico Rosberg at the start, but instead of fighting with the pole position holder, he found himself trying to fend off Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas, losing a place to the former, although he did manage to hold off the Williams.

It put him well and truly on the backfoot and then a slow first stop - with a problem with the left rear - further hampered his afternoon, leaving him stuck behind Vettel for even longer, although he did manage to vault the German by the chequered flag, after opting for a three-stopper.

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Speaking at the finish, Hamilton complained it was "impossible" to follow Vettel and that it was only the strategy that got him back to P2.

"Obviously I had quite a poor start - lots of wheel spin. It has been a long time since I have had such a bad start, but I tried my best to recover," Hamilton said after taking his 75th F1 podium. "I nearly dropped back to fourth at the start, so I was very fortunate to keep third.

"Then it was just to try and fight, but unfortunately this track isn't very good for overtaking - actually it is the worst for overtaking, it is impossible to follow here, which is a shame. I don't know how it was further back, but for the guys at the front, it doesn't matter what you do, you cannot get close enough, even with DRS, which is a shame.

"But nonetheless I did everything I could behind Sebastian and did enough I think in the first stint. However, I had a very long [first] pitstop and then had to do it all again [because of that], but fortunately towards the end it was enough.

"If I was behind on the track I wouldn't have got passed. I am grateful that I could gain those points for the team and it is damage limitation for me."

Hamilton now sees his lead in the Drivers' Championship cut from 27 points to 20 and he is already looking ahead to Monaco.

"There is a long, long way to go [in the championship]. This was a difficult weekend for me and I will definitely take it. Nico did a good race and a fantastic job and [as I said] I am grateful I could get back up to second. Looking forward to Monaco now. It is going to be a very tough race for sure, but I am looking forward to it," concluded the 2008 and 2014 F1 World Champion.