Lewis Hamilton re-gained the championship lead in yet another Mercedes one-two, with Ferrari no where to be seen for the Silver Arrows.
Despite starting second on the grid, it was a dominant race start to finish for Hamilton, as he came out on top in a three-way battle heading into the opening chicane on lap one.
With Hamilton opting for the inside line and a storming Sebastian Vettel on the outside, it was an edge-of-the-seat start as Bottas was sandwiched in the middle. However, Vettel locked up and both Mercedes drivers got away despite Bottas close to spinning.
But Max Verstappen then took advantage of Vettel’s mistake to take third place as the Ferrari cars came wheel to wheel but the four-time World Champion just managed to hold off Leclerc.
This set the pace for the Grand Prix as Hamilton was in a league of his own added with the DHL Fastest Lap bonus point and Verstappen claiming the final podium spot.
Lewis Hamilton now takes a seven-point championship lead ahead of Bottas with the Ferrari drivers seemingly more concentrated on fighting each other, as team orders was used once again in Spain.
On lap 13, Vettel was instructed to let Leclerc pass-by but later this was reversed with the two swapping places once again.
A total mess at Ferrari in what was such a pivotal weekend for their season.
Greatness from Mercedes
This was the weekend that would define Ferrari’s ‘title push’ in 2019.
Looking exceptionally quick around Barcelona in pre-season, this was viewed as the race to recover from their poor start and take the fight to Mercedes.
But once again they failed.
There is now perhaps a widespread acceptance, amongst Ferrari too, that this title will be heading to Mercedes – even just five races into the season.
The Silver Arrows are once again in a league of their own, as it was only during a safety car that the Scuderia had good sight of Mercedes.
But even with the restart, once again the Ferrari cars were left for dust in what is now looking like a private driver’s championship fight between Bottas and Hamilton.
And following qualifying it looked like the Fin could stretch his championship lead.
Finishing 0.6seconds ahead of Hamilton, this was the largest gap between first and second on a Saturday since Belgium 2018.
Thus causing the five-time World Champion to look lost, the presence and pressure from Bottas 2.0 was evident yet Hamilton overcame to assert who is boss during the race, with a truly dominant performance from the Brit.
Seven points now separates the two and unless a scintillating comeback occurs, then Mercedes will be claiming their sixth consecutive title in both championships.
Something only seen once in F1 history with Ferrari winning six constructors in-a-row between 1999 and 2004.
Toto Wolff and Mercedes really are in the midst of creating greatness.
Ferrari’s mess continues
The contrast between Ferrari’s pre-season to their season thus far, continues to be shouted about and the questions as to why there is such a difference once again get asked, but with good reason.
This was supposed to be the season that the Mercedes dominance ends, with a newly appointed team principal in Mattia Binotto, times were supposed to be changing.
But events remain the same.
Instead of concentrating on Mercedes, there seems to be bigger problems within the team to focus on. One being the drivers.
Team orders continue to be utilised during 2019 for Ferrari and were used not once, but twice in Spain. Vettel was told to let Leclerc pass-by early on, but then the opposite in the race’s latter stages.
However, causing even more problems for the team is a certain Max Verstappen.
None of the Ferrari drivers can even claim to be ‘best of the rest’ thus far as the Dutchman situates third in the championship, claiming his second podium of the season in Barcelona.
For the Italy based team to have only achieved three podium finishes in the opening five races is just unacceptable, compared to where this team targeted to be in 2019.
Although, one must still not take away from the brilliance of Verstappen that has him placed ahead of both Ferrari drivers in the championship, as he continues to gain every last inch out of his Red Bull car.
So, plenty of problems ahead for Ferrari as Mercedes just keep improving as each week and each season goes-by.
With Monaco up next, it is perhaps unlikely that second on the grid could end up the race winner making qualifying and track position ever so-important in the narrow streets of Monte Carlo.
Usually not Mercedes territory, the track normally favours the Red Bull cars and with Verstappen in such a rich-vein of form, eyes will certainly be on the Dutchman to see if he can go on and win the Grand Prix.
But with the form of Mercedes in 2019, it may well end up being a dominant weekend from them once again.
So, all is up for grabs next up in Monaco as it looks to be a tight battle between Bottas and Hamilton for the driver’s title.
First seen on Formula 1