Mercedes sealed a fifth consecutive one-two finish to start the 2019 Formula 1 season, as Lewis Hamilton claimed a dominant victory.
Hamilton led every lap en route to a third consecutive win at the Circuit de Barcelona, grabbing the lead away from polesitter and team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the run to the first corner.
The two were close to contact at the sweeping Turn 1, with Bottas wedged between Hamilton on the inside and an attacking Sebastian Vettel who challenged on the outside in his Ferrari.
All three survived and Hamilton controlled proceedings from the front of the field.
Entering the final third of the race, a safety car was deployed after Lance Stroll and Lando Norris tangled at Turn 2, sending the Racing Point into the barriers and the McLaren out of the race with suspension damage.
Hamilton, who lost a nine second lead when the safety car was called, streaked away from the competition at the restart, pumping in two consecutive fastest laps to build a comfortable margin.
Bottas settled for second. He complained after the race of clutch issues which served to hamper his launch off the line.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen secured his first podium finish since the Australian Grand Prix with third place and takes over third in the drivers’ standings.
After Vettel was wrong footed on the outside of Turn 1, Verstappen took advantage at Turn 3 and drove around the outside of the Ferrari to grab third place and leave Vettel to battle his team-mate Charles Leclerc.
Vettel lacked pace in the opening stint as a result of a left-front flat spot picked up at the opening corner during his assault on the Mercedes duo.
Ferrari opted to make the first of two team order calls during the opening stint to elevate Leclerc ahead of his team-mate.
The two were switched again later in the race, as Vettel was charging on newer and softer rubber after his second stop prior to the race neutralising safety car.
Vettel ended up finishing in fourth ahead of Leclerc, who was forced to defend against sixth-placed Pierre Gasly’s Red Bull after being caught out on the restart.
Kevin Magnussen battled to seventh place for Haas. After losing out in a dice with Gasly, Magnussen ran into Turn 1 wheel-to-wheel with team-mate Romain Grosjean shortly after the restart.
The two tangled wheels, with Grosjean taking to the run-off area – a piece of tarmac he visited again when attempting a similar move on Magnussen two laps later.
Grosjean would eventually slip back to 10th, struggling with the tyres in the closing stages. He was passed by Carlos Sainz Jr, who finished eighth for McLaren and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.
Alexander Albon challenged Grosjean in the final laps, but was unable to complete a pass and finished 11th.
Both Kvyat and Albon, who had run consistently in the top 10 throughout the race, lost one position each during the safety car when miscommunication led to a brace of fumbled pitstops as Toro Rosso attempted a double-stack.