Sebastian Vettel snatched the lead of the race from polesitter Lewis Hamilton off the line, as the Spanish Grand Prix got underway. Behind them, Valtteri Bottas nudged Kimi Räikkönen who had a hard impact with Max Verstappen, knocking both drivers out of the race. With tyre strategy the main area to make gains or losses, Bottas remained out the longest of the front runners and managed to hold up Vettel, but things still looked like they were going Ferrari’s way.
That is until Stoffel Vandoorne beached his McLaren in the gravel after contact with Felipe Massa. The virtual safety car was deployed and Hamilton essentially got a free pit stop. When Vettel’s next stop came he rejoined side by side with the Mercedes, kept the position but some tense laps followed. Hamilton made it past, took the lead and never looked back. Vettel stayed second, with Daniel Ricciardo a distant and lonesome third.
The only other retirement of the day was Bottas, whose engine was smoking as he pulled to a halt off track. Pascal Wehrlein finished in the top ten to bring home Sauber’s first points of the season, whilst Force India finished fourth and fifth to consolidate their fourth place in the championship.