Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes stole a stunning victory in the Spanish Grand Prix from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
A clever strategic move by the team followed by Hamilton attacking and passing Vettel put the Briton in control and he defended successfully to the end.
Vettel had passed Hamilton off the start line to lead for the first half of the race but ended up out-flanked by their rivals.
Hamilton’s second win of the season cut his deficit to Vettel in the championship to six points after five of 20 races.
It was a tense and gripping battle befitting the closeness of the fight between Formula 1’s top teams this season.
Vettel took control of the race with a superb start, sweeping around the outside of Hamilton into Turn One and building a 2.2-second lead with a blistering first lap.
When Ferrari beat Mercedes to making the first pit stop, preventing Hamilton passing by stopping earlier and benefiting from fresh tyres, the race appeared to be Vettel’s to lose and Mercedes to win.
Mercedes switched strategies, putting Hamilton on a long middle stint on the slower medium tyre, the idea being to attack Vettel at the end of the race, when Hamilton would be on the soft tyre and the Ferrari on the medium.
They then bought themselves some time by delaying the first pit stop of Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas so he could hold up Vettel for a couple of laps.