Lewis Hamilton lost out when he locked up at the inside of Turn 1 alongside Gasly, who gained sixth position. As he moved to the inside of Turn 1, Hamilton’s Mercedes tapped Alonso’s front wheel and dropped down to eighth, just ahead of Norris.
Russell on hard tyres slipped down to 15th from 12th.
Leclerc had pulled out a second over Verstappen by the start of the lap 3, clear of DRS range. Alonso wasn’t safe though and Hamilton pulled past with the aid of DRS on the run-up to Turn 11.
By the start of lap 6, Hamilton was past Gasly on the inside of Turn 1 Schumacher was also in action as he muscled his way past tenth-placed Yuki Tsunoda and into the points; the pair fighting side-by-side for several corners.
On lap 8, Verstappen was told by his pitwall that they could see some damage to Leclerc’s front-right tyre; the Red Bull was within DRS range at 0.9sec behind the Ferrari and closing.
It didn’t take Verstappen long, as he got a run on Leclerc going into lap 9, activated DRS on the pit straight to pull alongside and secured the position under braking for Turn 1.
Leclerc appeared to have no comeback, despite initially being within DRS range.
Despite Red Bull’s messages about Leclerc’s tyre wear-rate, there didn’t seem to be any concern for Sainz’s engineers; the Spaniard was told on lap 11 that his first stint was being extended.
Yuki Tsunoda was the first to pit on the same lap, swapping medium tyres for hards, and he was followed in by Kevin Magnussen who also put hard tyres on.
Leclerc looked to be struggling by lap 12, falling 2.5sec behind Verstappen and running wide.
At the front, Max Verstappen continued to set fastest laps, clocking a 1min 33.510sec lap on lap 14.
Fernando Alonso looked to be targeting an undercut on Pierre Gasly with a stop at the end of lap 16 but a problem with the right rear tyre left him stationary for too long. Gasly pitted on lap 17 and emerged ahead.
Sebastian Vettel forced his way out from behind Nicholas Latifi in 17th, proving that it is possible to overtake in the tight chicane section
Lando Norris pitted on lap 18. A slow stop saw him emerge between the Aston Martins, but he lost out to Sebastian Vettel immediately and then fell victim to Kevin Magnussen soon afterwards.
Sergio Perez was within DRS range of Carlos Sainz on lap 20, but soon afterwards complained of losing power. He was told by the team that everything was ok and that he had just lost the tow from Sainz, but a laptime 4sec slower than previously suggested otherwise, as did a forceful Perez..
“Keep going, we’re doing all we can,” Perez was told on lap 21, “the power unit looks good now.”
Lewis Hamilton came in at the end of lap 22, which promoted Russell to sixth. He came out behind his team-mate and ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in eighth.