Lewis Hamilton outdrove and outwitted Max Verstappen to win the Spanish Grand Prix overnight.
The Brit made a surprise pitstop late in the race after trailing Verstappen since lap one.
Fitting a set of mediums to his Mercedes, Hamilton re-joined the race 23s behind Verstappen with 24 laps in hand.
However, the Red Bull had been on his set of tyres since his first pitstop on lap 24 of 66, and his pace relative to the hard-charging Hamilton was dire.
Each passing lap saw Hamilton take over a second out of Verstappen’s lead, and with ten laps remaining, he had closed to within DRS range.
The switch for the lead came at turn one moments later as Hamilton drafted alongside before out-braking his rival into the right-hander.
Verstappen had controlled the entire grand prix until that stage.
Starting second, he bullied himself past polesitter Hamilton with a stunning overtake at turn one.
Hamilton failed to cover off the inside line. He was then forced to turn out of the corner to ensure he and Verstappen didn’t collide.
Hamilton’s loss in momentum upset his teammate Valtteri Bottas who lost third place to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Bottas eventually got back past Leclerc in the pitstop phase. He then moved into second when Mercedes called Hamilton in for the late stop.
The two crossed paths again, though this time with Hamilton significantly quicker on his new rubber.
Still, Bottas was in no hurry to allow the sister Mercedes past and compelled Hamilton into lunging ahead of him at turn ten.
While the minor kafuffle hindered Hamilton’s progress, he would catch and overtake Verstappen for the race lead just a handful of laps later.
Leclerc hung on to snatch fourth. He finished ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
As part of his charge from eighth on the grid, Perez executed a highlight-reel divebomb on the master of divebombs himself, Daniel Ricciardo, late in the race.
Ricciardo was the lead McLaren home in sixth, beating out Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris.
Esteban Ocon was one of only two drivers to go the race distance on one pitstop. However, the strategy saw him cling on to finish ninth and score two championship points.
Pierre Gasly overcame a five-second penalty and put late moves on Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll to round out the top ten.
Championship-wise, Hamilton’s margin over Verstappen is increased to 14 points. The Red Bull driver reduces some of the damage inflicted by setting the fastest lap of the race.
Next up for the drivers is Monaco, which hosts its round of the world championship on May 24.
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr||74.6|
|8||Lando Norris||1 Lap|
|9||Esteban Ocon||1 Lap|
|10||Pierre Gasly||1 Lap|
|11||Lance Stroll||1 Lap|
|12||Kimi Raikkonen||1 Lap|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||1 Lap|
|14||George Russell||1 Lap|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||1 Lap|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||1 Lap|
|17||Fernando Alonso||1 Lap|
|18||Mick Schumacher||2 Laps|
|19||Nikita Mazepin||2 Laps|