Hamilton Reigns Supreme in Barcelona.

With the 55th win of his magnificent career safely under his belt, Mercedes champion Lewis Hamilton could celebrate in style at the Circuit de Catalunya yesterday afternoon safe in the knowledge that his impressive victory has now closed the gap on the leaders board to a mere six points between his team and their arch-rivals Ferrari. Admitting that the sheer intensity of the 66 lap race had cost him to lose four-and-a-half pounds in weight, Hamilton paid tribute to his team saying "The team did an incredible job today, that's how racing should be, as close as it's possible to be. Sebastien was incredibly close, incredibly fast. The team did an amazing job with the strategy". Team principal at Mercedes Toto Wolff was in firm agreement post-race when he said "It was an epic grand prix. Racing simply doesn't go more wheel-to-wheel". Ferrari's superstar Sebastien Vettel crossed the line in second place and was a whole 76 seconds clear of Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull who completed the race in third position.

Indeed, the Mercedes driver had set a phenomenally high standard in qualifying looking relaxed and confident across the two days leading up to the race and delighting his fans with a spectacular performance that rewarded him with pole position on the grid. The numerous and sophisticated upgrades to Hamilton's car made by the Silver Arrows team seemed to have at last paid off and given them superiority over Ferrari. Any memories of last season were firmly erased when Hamilton had experienced an all-time low after he collided with his team-mate Nico Rosberg in the first lap at the Barcelona Grand Prix and dramatically sent both the Mercedes drivers spinning off the track. With Vettel qualifying in second and their respective team mates Bottas and Raikkonen in third and fourth, it looked like the see-saw battle between Ferrari and Mercedes was set to continue for the fifth race of the season so far. The Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Riccardio came in at fifth and sixth on the grid with Fernando Alonso achieving an amazing seventh position, perhaps spurred on by his hometown and the huge show of support for the much loved Spaniard. That just left the two Force India drivers Perez and Ocon in eighth and tenth with Massa in his Williams car sandwiched in between the two in ninth.

With the track temperature dial showing forty-one degrees celsius on race day, marginally cooler than in qualifying, the buzz around the Circuit de Catalunya was palpable. The fans excitement was only further heightened when Sebastien Vettel shot out of the pits like absolute dynamite and being far too quick for Hamilton who assumed he had the advantage in pole, seized the lead at the first corner of the circuit and raced off in to Lap one. Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen's race came to a very abrupt end when they collided on the first corner and were eliminated from the race. Both drivers blamed Valterri Bottas in his Mercedes car for their premature exits after he braked early at the first corner causing Ferrari's Raikkonen and Red Bull's Verstappen to draw alongside him on the outside. Bottas then clipped Raikkonen's right-rear wheel which unfortunately sent him careering in to Verstappen and resulting in them both suffering suspension failure. The stewards later decided that no action would be taken and no penalties applied to either driver and it was put down to a racing incident. This led to a truly unforgettable and quite magical moment of the Catalonian Grand Prix when a young French boy in the crowd named Thomas, who was undoubtedly Kimi Raikkonen's number one fan, was seen on television immediately breaking down in tears to see his hero crash out of the race so early. All was not lost for the young F1 fan as the Ferrari team managed to track him and his family down and invited them back to the Ferrari garage to meet their superstar Finnish driver. As Kimi Raikkonen presented a beaming Thomas with a Ferrari cap, the gesture resonated so deeply with Sky Sports commentator David Croft that he was almost reduced to tears.

Valterri Bottas could not have been feeling hugely confident about the abilities of his Mercedes car as he waited patiently on the grid for the countdown to signal the start of the race knowing that he was driving with the old engine after a technical problem and a water leak was discovered in qualifying. After gallantly defending his position and managing to hold off an attacking Vettel and delay him by a few seconds on Lap 24, Bottas was eventually outsmarted by the German on Lap 25 when he showed off his superior driving skills and performed a sneaky but highly effective dummy pass to overtake the Mercedes. The Finnish driver had more bad luck in store when he later experienced engine failure on Lap 39 and was forced to retire early when his Mercedes car broke down, no surprise as the engine had already done four races and had literally just given up the ghost.

A crash on the first turn of Lap thirty-four involving Stoffel Vandoorne's McLaren and Felipe Massa's Williams resulted in the virtual safety car being brought out and the McLaren being grounded on the gravel. Vandoorne, having admitted his misdemeanour, was given a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Monaco in addition to two penalty points on his racing license. Massa managed to complete the race in thirteenth place, slowed down by the fact that he had to make an extra pit-stop. Kevin Magnusson of Haas had spent the entire race in tenth position until the penultimate lap when he attempted to win back ninth place from Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat and the two cars collided. The Danish driver Magnusson came off worse after the impact with a puncture and had to settle for fourteenth place and a no points finish after a costly delay in the pits for new tyres. Kvyat, who went on to finish in ninth place, had very little sympathy for Magnusson when interviewed after the race and said that the Danish driver only had himself to blame for the puncture and that the collision was "very clear-cut."

An intense battle at the front continued between the Ferrari and the Mercedes and it was Vettel who came in to the pits first to change to the softer tyres. Hamilton was instructed by his Mercedes team to continue for as long as possible on the slower medium tyres with the strategy to switch to the soft and ultimately faster tyres towards the end of the race to enable his Mercedes to attack a leading Sebastien Vettel. The practise sessions had clearly shown that the medium Pirelli tyre did not react well to the soaring track temperatures in the Barcelona heat and had slowed the drivers down and this strategic move by the Silver Arrows engineers to hold off changing them was pure genius. On Lap forty-four, Lewis Hamilton created history when he used precision timing to pick up the DRS and masterfully overtake Vettel and steal the lead right from under his nose. On being interviewed after the race about Hamilton's ultra smooth move and without doubt, the defining moment of the Spanish Grand Prix, Vettel said "I had no chance. He was like a train."

As the thrilling Formula One season rolls on with the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix ever looming in less than a fortnight's time, the battle for the championship continues. Mercedes and Ferrari have opened up an enormous gap between themselves and the other F1 teams and have dominated all of the the race weekends so far. Whether or not we will see any of their pursuers make their own bid for glory remains to be seen. Now a quarter of the way through the season, we wait with baited breath for the next race which will take place on the glamorous streets of Monte Carlo on Sunday May 28th, on a track that leaves no margin for error and will test even the most dedicated and skilled of the world-class F1 drivers.