Mercedes' decision to bring Lewis Hamilton in for a second pit stop proved to be the difference on Sunday, with the Brit ultimately executing the strategy to perfection to take his 98th career victory at the F1 Spanish Grand Prix.
A day after becoming the first F1 driver to reach the century mark when it comes to pole positions, it looked as though the Brit was primed for another dominant victory. However that wasn't the case as Max Verstappen once again got the better of him when the lights went green, elbowing his way past Hamilton at Turn 1.
While the Brit eventually settled in behind his championship rival, he never lost sight of the Dutchman and always looked ready to pounce at the slightest error given how tricky it is to pass in Barcelona. However that opportunity never came, with all eyes quickly switching to what everyone expected would be the only round of pit stops.
Although Mercedes kept Hamilton out a few laps longer than Verstappen in hopes of having fresher tyres in the closing stages, the team opted to mix things up on Lap 42. The Brit was brought in for another set of medium tyres as the Silver Arrows hoped Hamilton would have enough pace to close in on the Dutchman after Red Bull made it clear they wouldn't be bringing him in for a second stop. It's a move Hamilton himself admitted he wasn't entirely sure of, but he put his trust in the team.
"We went through the whole weekend making sure we still had two fresh mediums for if you have to do two stop, even though a one stop potentially looks better," Hamilton revealed after the race to Sky Sports.
"I thought 'do I come in, or do I ignore the call and stay out?' but obviously I did what the team asked, because it's a great trust between us, but it was a remarkable job by everyone on the team. What a day!"
From there Hamilton mercilessly flung his Mercedes around the kerbing while taking huge chunks out of Verstappen's lead. The Dutchman's advantage stood at 21 seconds on Lap 45, but by Lap 60 it had been complete erased.
There was only one logical outcome, as Hamilton and his fresher tyres picked up a slipstream to get past Verstappen and cruise to victory, his third of the season.
Having already reached the century mark when it comes to poles, Hamilton is now just two away from recording 100 wins. Given his performance on Sunday, don't be surprised if he hits that marker sooner rather than later.