Lewis Hamilton slayed the sitting duck on Sunday.
Hamilton turned a perfect game plan into a win at the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix and extended his lead in the F1 World Championship standings, as he chases history and the chance to break a tie with Michael Schumacher at seven career championships.
Max Verstappen finished second, 15.8 seconds back. Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas was third. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was fourth and the only other driver in the field of 20 to finish within a minute of Hamilton.
Hamilton, who dove into the pits for a second pit stop fresh tires on Lap 43, passed Verstappen going into Turn 1 on Lap 60 of 66. Verstappen, on older tires, was unable to hold off Hamilton and win on a one-stop strategy.
Verstappen ended up making his own second pit stop after being passed late, and he was able to salvage a bonus point for fastest lap.
"In a way I could see it coming," Verstappen told Sky Sports after the race. "Already at the end (of the first stint) on the softs, he was faster. Then, hen we put on mediums, he had a lot more pace. There was not much we could have done. They went for another stop, and I knew it was over.
"I was already struggling with the tires, and you could see every lap he as was getting closer and closer. We were a bit of a sitting duck."
The win was Hamilton's 98th carer victory, fifth consecutive win in the Spanish Grand Prix and sixth overall at the Spanish GP. It came on a weekend that saw Hamilton score his 100th career pole, extending his own record.
Hamilton, who started from the pole, lost the lead in Turn 1 on the opening lap to Verstappen.
"It was such a close start," Hamilton said. "There was a lot of rubber down on the right side and obviously the Red Bull had a great start. After that, it was just hunting. I was close for so long and I didn't think in doing that I was going to make the tires last. But I just managed to just keep them some how."
Hamilton stayed close, but was unable to overtake Verstappen. Verstappen made his first pit stop on Lap 25, Hamilton on Lap 29. Verstappen came out of that first round of pits with a 6-second lead.
Hamilton then dove into the Mercedes pit on Lap 43, while Verstappen stayed out. Hamilton came out the pit with a 23 second-deficit the he quickly erased.
"It's a long way to come back from 20-odd seconds left (after the second pit stop), but it was a good gamble, really great strategy," Hamilton said.
The win was Hamilton's third in four races this season. He leads Verstappen by 14 points in the standings.
F1 Spanish Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 66 laps
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +15.8 seconds
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, +26.6
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +54.6
Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +1:03.6
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, +1:13.7
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +1:14.6
Lando Norris, McLaren +1 lap
Esteban Ocon, Alpine, +1 lap
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, +1 lap
Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, +1 lap
Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, +1 lap
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, +1 lap
Geroge Russell, Williams, +1 lap
Antonio Gionvinazzi, Alfa Romeo, +1 lap
Nicholas Latifi, Williams, +1 lap
Fernando Alonso, Alpine, +1 lap
Mick Schumacher, Haas, +2 laps
Nikita Mazepin, Haas, +2 laps
Yuki Tsnonoda, AlphaTauri, +60 laps