Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel had a fierce duel in the Spanish Grand Prix which Hamilton narrowly won.
Hamilton, who secured the 64th pole of his career to move to within one of his boyhood hero Ayrton Senna, finished just 0.051 seconds ahead of Vettel following a frenetic qualifying session at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
Ferrari followed suit by pitting Vettel straight after on the same lap to switch to mediums for a final tyre change.
Further down the race after Stoffel Vandoorne's stoppage resulted in the first safety auto period, where Mercedes pit Hamilton just when the VSC period end, an interesting blunder by the Silver Arrows outfit.
Vettel resisted Hamilton's initial attack on his out-lap but was overtaken around the outside into the first corner not long afterwards. While Vettel has prevailed in Australia and Bahrain, Hamilton claimed victory at Shanghai before his Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, clinched his first-ever Grand Prix win at Sochi in the last week of April.
The title rivals now have two wins apiece in the 2017 season but the German still holds a slender six-point advantage in the World Championship race.
As for Vettel, the fact that the German even took part in qualifying yesterday was a big deal as his Ferrari vehicle had a water leak after final practice session and they had to quickly to fit a new engine to his auto. The Brit wouldn't be shut out, though, and as the front two tore through the pack, he eventually regained his place at the front, clocking his fastest lap time two from the end.
"I am not happy, it [the win] was there", said Vettel. We know the track and the vehicle, and I know that it is working.
Valtteri Bottas, having claimed his maiden F1 victory last time out in Russian Federation, said that he felt Ferrari had risen to the pace of Mercedes as the weekend progressed. The Finn finally hit the track with eight and a half minutes remaining, and managed to match Vettel's tally of seven laps.
"The team did a great job with the strategy", said Hamilton, who repeatedly questioned the decisions from the pitwall when he was left out for a later first stop than Vettel, while being reassured that things would come back to him later on if he could keep his pace up.
McLaren also enjoyed a positive afternoon with Spaniard Fernando Alonso finishing seventh in qualifying in what was finally some positive news for the struggling team.
Just days after Sebastian Vettel questioned why even when he and Ferrari were winning it was still never good enough for the Italian media, it was claimed by said media that the German had signed a "pre-agreement" to join Mercedes in 2018. "They did a wonderful job with the strategy and the pit stops". From thereon to the chequered flag it was overlapping cars and pushing it to the limit for both drivers.