MONTMELO - Lewis Hamilton beat teammate Valtteri Bottas to win the Spanish Grand Prix for a third consecutive year on Sunday, securing a fifth one-two finish for Mercedes to start the Formula One season. Hamilton’s third win of the campaign let him take the championship lead by seven points over Bottas, who had entered the race with a one-point advantage.

“This is history in the making to have five one-twos,” Hamilton said about his team’s record start to 2019. It was the five-time and defending champion’s 76th career victory. Only Michael Schumacher has more with 91.

Max Verstappen was third in his Red Bull, in front of Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. As opposed to his win here in 2017 and 2018 from pole position, Hamilton had to overtake pole-sitter Bottas. Once in front he cruised through the race’s 66 laps of the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit without a challenge. Hamilton got the jump on Bottas off the line when Vettel leapt forward and made it three abreast going through the first corner. Vettel locked up on the turn, and Bottas, sandwiched in the middle, had to blink to avoid a possible collision as Hamilton sped clear.

It was fifth Mercedes 1-2

Verstappen took advantage of the joisting to slip by Vettel and into third, a result that moved the Belgian into a distant third place in the standings. Verstappen is 46 points adrift of Hamilton. Vettel fell to fourth at 48 points back. Ferrari was faster on this same track during two weeks of preseason testing this winter and had hoped to make up the gap by bringing in a new engine for the race.

But Mercedes was unfazed and stormed to yet another win to further demoralize its rivals. While the Mercedes pair and Verstappen zoomed away, the Ferraris joisted with each other and watched their chances to even salvage a podium spot fade away. Leclerc overtook the slower Vettel, then Vettel hunted Leclerc down and they both lost time while Leclerc defended his spot until Ferrari finally ordered him to let Vettel past.

Bottas had shown more speed in practice and in qualifying than Hamilton, when Bottas set a scorching track record that was a whopping 0.6 seconds faster than Hamilton’s best effort. Bottas’ chances for victory were sunk by his poor start, when his wheels appeared to spin while Hamilton immediately made up the difference from second on the grid.