MERCEDES enjoyed their best result of the season to give some hope of breaking Max Verstappen's F1 stranglehold.
The Red Bull man romped to his fifth win in the opening seven races – with all of this season's grands prix being won by the Milton-Keynes based team.
But there is renewed optimism that the Silver Arrows' revised car design can help deliver them a much needed boost in the form of a victory.
While Verstappen was comfortably quickest here in Barcelona, Lewis Hamilton was second and George Russell was third.
Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez was fourth, despite having started in 11th place, one spot ahead of Russell, who had clashed with Hamilton during qualifying.
Verstappen got a good start as did Hamilton, who moved up a place when he passed Lando Norris into the first corner.
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But as they squeezed into Turn Two, Norris went into the back of Hamilton's Mercedes causing damage to his own car.
Norris was forced to pit while the contact shuffled Hamilton out of place and allowed Lance Stroll to move into third place.
The kerfuffle behind him was of no interest to Verstappen, who had opened up a two-second lead after only four laps.
Despite his first-lap set back, Hamilton pulled back into third place as he went around Stroll into turn one on lap eight.
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Russell was also making in-roads and he passed Esteban Ocon to move into fifth on lap 11.
Early pitstops for Carlos Sainz and Stroll moved Hamilton and Russell into second and third place respectively.
Hamilton made his pitstop at the end of lap 24 while Russell made his stop a lap later.
Verstappen was the second to last driver to pit on lap 27, but he had built up such an advantage that when he returned to the track, he was still leading the race.
Hamilton powered his way into second with a straight-forward overtake on Sainz into Turn One on lap 35.
And it was not long before Russell was back into third place when he passed the Spaniard who was beginning to drop like a stone.
It was encouraging for the Mercedes duo, although Hamilton was still 16 seconds adrift of runaway leader Verstappen while Russell was a further 10 seconds behind.
Mercedes pitted both drivers for fresh tyres leaving them free to hunt down Verstappen, who was on the hard tyre.
But the Red Bull man had such a lead he was again able to make his own pitstop to preserve his lead.
In the final few laps, he came close to earning a five-second time penalty for running wide and exceeding track limits.
Despite warnings from his race engineer to slow down and avoid a penalty, he ignored the instructions to set the fastest lap to earn the bonus point.
He then coasted home to a comfortable 24 second lead over Hamilton and opened up a whopping 53 point lead in the championship over Perez.
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