Hamilton pipped Verstappen to pole position in Barcelona but a great start allowed the Dutchman to robustly snatch the lead into Turn 1 and he went on to lead the majority of the race.

But Verstappen was cornered into a one-stop strategy when Mercedes pulled the trigger to switch Hamilton onto a two-stop, handing the seven-time world champion a significant tyre advantage in the final stint.

Demonstrating some stunning race pace, Hamilton was able to wipe away a near-23-second deficit to Verstappen in just 18 laps, before passing the Red Bull driver for the lead six laps from the end to seal his third win in four races.

After the race, Verstappen admitted Red Bull was simply “too slow” to prevent Hamilton’s charge to a 98th career victory

“That’s how you sum it up!” Verstappen said. “There’s not much else to really discuss.

“I tried to do everything to manage it as good as I could, looking after the tyres and stuff, but it’s just not enough when behind you they’re pushing you and you can see clearly there’s a bit more pace.

“Of course you try to keep up with it and do the best possible strategy you can but I think even if, let’s say we had gone for that earlier second stop, I don’t think I would have caught Lewis up after that, because on that medium I think I was just a bit slower.

“For Lewis to be that close on a track like this all the time within a second, sometimes even having DRS, I think just shows that there was not much I could do out there to make a difference.

“Of course you always want more, I think that always needs to be the aim,” he added. “I think we shouldn’t be happy with a second-place at the moment but nevertheless we tried everything.”

Since claiming pole at the season-opener in Bahrain, Verstappen believes it is clear that Mercedes has an advantage on race day now the reigning world champions seem to have ironed out their pre-season issues.

“It looks good when you’re leading for so long in the race, but you also have to look at all the things that are happening throughout the race,” he explained.

“I think here we were just lacking a little bit of pace in the race and it has been like this a little bit so far this season. It seems in qualifying we are quite competitive and in the race struggling a little bit more.”

So how can Red Bull avoid a repeat of their Spanish GP defeat in the future?

“We just need a faster car, It’s very simple,” Verstappen replied. “Then you don’t need to get into a situation like that. That’s what we have to focus on.”