The see-sawing battle for supremacy between Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team continues as the Formula One championship enters its European phase in Barcelona, where Hamilton leads a Mercedes lockout of the front row.
I wouldn't say I had ideal synergy, but nearly.
Vettel finished fourth, less than a second behind Verstappen but 22 seconds ahead of the Dutchman's teammate, Daniel Ricciardo.
After a tough start to his season, Verstappen surely heaved a sigh of relief with his podium finish in Spain.
"We couldn't make the tires last", said Vettel.
"That's more like it", said Hamilton into his radio after taking the chequered flag.
The leading cars navigated the opening metres without drama before the error-prone Romain Grosjean, once labelled a "first-lap nutcase" by Mark Webber, lived up to that title by sparking a huge crash after he lost control of his Haas at Turn 3 and slid back across the track in a cloud of tyre smoke.
For the first time this season, he felt truly at one with the auto.
But it was the virtual safety vehicle that arguably had the biggest say in Sunday's race. According to oddsmakers, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are co-favored to win, as each is listed with +150 odds.
The victory bodes well for Mercedes for the rest of the season as the performances in Barcelona - where most teams bring significant auto updates - usually set the tone for the rest of the races on the European portion of the calendar. Kimi [Raikkonen] had an issue with the engine [on Friday], had to change the engine and obviously then retired in the race. The next race on the calendar is the Monaco Grand Prix on 27 May. Ricciardo was eventually called in on lap 34, with Verstappen pitting a lap later. Kevin Magnussen (Haas): +1 lap 7.
"Since getting pole in Australia for the first race, we've not had another good qualifying until today", said... Fernando Alonso (McLaren) (all one lap); 9.
Lap 59 saw Perez pass Sauber's Charles Leclerc to increase his team's points haul for the race.
Earlier, Hamilton also made a top-place finish in the second practice, while he finished at the second place behind Bottas in the opening session.
Grosjean's spinning vehicle resulted in an array of tyre smoke and the unsighted Hulkenberg and Gasly creamed into the stricken Haas, leaving all three out on the spot.
Sebastian Vettel's poor form continued at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.