Mercedes’ Hamilton and Red Bull driver Verstappen kept up their 100 percent record of engaging in an on-track fight in 2021 as they went wheel-to-wheel for the fourth time in as many races in Barcelona.

Having initially lost the lead when Verstappen barged his way past into Turn 1 at the start, Hamilton - aided by a brilliant Mercedes strategy - was able to hunt down and repass Verstappen six laps from the end to score his fifth successive Spanish GP victory.

The seven-time world champion stressed he is “continuing to love this battle we are having” and reckons he learned more about Verstappen in Spain than in “all the other races” combined.

“I learned a lot about Max today,” Hamilton said. “Perhaps more than all the other races put together.

“So this has been a good one in that sense.”

When asked if he could elaborate on what he meant about Verstappen, Hamilton laughed and replied: “No particularly, no!

“It was just good,” he continued. “When you are with people on track you get to see different things and watch closely.

“Obviously I was following relatively closely and I learned a lot about his car and how he uses it. So, it was a good race in that respect.”

Hamilton’s win in Spain was his third victory from the opening four races and marked his best-ever start to an F1 season.

The Briton has subsequently extended his championship lead over Verstappen to 14 points heading into the Monaco Grand Prix.

“Every year I come back and I’m always trying to improve, and most often it tends to seem impossible, but it’s a necessity,” he explained.

“The Red Bulls have started off incredibly strong, they do both have a championship winning car and opportunity.

“As do we. And it’s going to take everything from us, not only me bringing my A game but the team bringing their A game weekend in, weekend out.

“Otherwise, these guys will be winning.”