In a match that finished four and a half hours after it started due to two rain delays, clay court king Nadal was never troubled.
His victory matched the mark of 17 Masters wins set by Andre Agassi, although the American was 34 when he won the last of his while the Spaniard is still just 23.
Nadal clearly coped better than Ferrer, who was aiming for a first ever Masters title, with the rain as until the first break it was 4-4 and 40-15 to Ferrer on his own serve.
However, he won only three more games after the heavens opened and Nadal, who has dropped only one set on clay this year, proved that he is in great shape ahead of the French Open, the second Grand Slam of the year.
Two weeks ago he stormed to victory at the Monte Carlo Masters and here he was only troubled in his three-set epic against Latvia's Ernests Gulbis in the semi-finals.