Mercedes believe Bottas start down to poor grip

But moments after recording a win which puts him firmly in the box seat for a sixth world title, Hamilton's mood turned to five-year-old Harry Shaw, who was recently given just one week to live following a nine-month battle against a rare bone cancer.

Having hoped to see a Ferrari renaissance at the Circuit de Catalunya, where they were so dominant in pre-season testing, Hamilton was disappointed again at their lack of pace, which, nearly incredibly, prompted paddock talk of the Silver Arrows winning all 21 races. Verstappen held on to 3rd place ahead of Vettel.

And he tried to get the jump on pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas by going around the outside on Turn 1.

In the constructors' standings, Ferrari now trail Mercedes by a mammoth 96 points.

Sebastian Vettel came home third, never too far down the road from Mercedes but never truly challenging.

Following on from the controversy of China, when Charles Leclerc was told to hold station behind teammate Sebastian Vettel despite seemingly having the quicker vehicle, there was more of the same in Barcelona.

While the top three continued at the head of the order, Vettel was losing ground to the Red Bull ahead of him. For Leclerc, this slow stop meant that the gap to Verstappen was allowed to grow to 10 seconds. Behind them, Gasly applied some pressure to Leclerc in the closing laps; but was unable to pull off an overtake and had to settle for 6th place.

Lando Norris of McLaren and Lance Stroll of Racing Point failed to finish after colliding two-thirds through the race.

Hamilton previously had Nico Rosberg, the now-retired 2016 champion in a season when Mercedes won 19 of the 21 races, as his main rival and that led to a breakdown in relations between the former friends.

Hamilton, second on the grid, seized the lead from polesitting team mate Valtteri Bottas at the start and went unchallenged to the chequered flag. Ultimately, it was the Dutch driver who would prevail.

Having been two all in the wins stakes after Baku, Lewis Hamilton once again took the advantage in the Mercedes fight after Spain to claim his third victory of the season, as the Silver Arrows dominated proceedings in Barcelona.

In addition to winning the race, Hamilton also scored one additional point for setting the fastest lap.

Bottas had shown more speed than Hamilton in practice and in qualifying, when he set a scorching track record that was 0.6 second faster than Hamilton's best effort.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen managed to finish ahead of Vettel's team-mate Charles Leclerc to add to Ferrari's disappointment.

  • Julie Sanders