GP Spagna, gara–10/05/2015
Spanish GP: Mercedes’ dominant Nico Rosberg ends F1 win drought
Nico Rosberg took his first victory of the season as the Mercedes Formula 1 team secured a commanding one-two at the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona.
The German led away from pole and remained unthreatened for the duration of the race, with his team-mate Lewis Hamilton second 17.5 seconds adrift and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel 27.7s further back in third at the finish.
Rosberg closes the gap to team-mate and championship leader Hamilton to 20 points, with Vettel another 11 adrift.
The result underlined the fact Mercedes remains the class of the field on a circuit where its strong car aerodynamically gave it a larger advantage than normal.
After four exciting races to start the season, the first European race of the season will not go down as a thriller, with the Circuit de Catalunya’s layout not conducive to much overtaking.
That meant Rosberg, who had only led 10 laps this season before arriving in Spain, was always going to be favourite for the win after taking pole position and the German duly controlled the race from the front.
Hamilton lost a place to Vettel at the start and after struggling to find a way past, Mercedes called him in to try the undercut.
But a problem fitting the left-rear tyre lost Hamilton three seconds so when Vettel pitted the next lap, he easily came out in front of the reigning world champion.
When Hamilton was told he had to pass Vettel on track, he responded: "I can assure you that’s pretty much impossible. Find another solution."
When the Briton pitted for the second time, taking on the hard tyres after two stints on the mediums, it became clear he was on a three-stop strategy.
In contrast, Vettel stayed out to suggest he was on a two-stopper. When the German pitted with 26 laps to go, he rejoined behind Hamilton, who was pushing hard to try to build a gap to enable him to pit and rejoin ahead of Vettel.
And it worked out, with Hamilton exiting the pits after his third stop, and on fresher medium tyres, well clear of Vettel.
Hamilton traded fastest laps with Rosberg in the closing stages but the deficit to his team-mate was too great to close down in the remaining laps and he finished second to secure a 14th one-two as a pairing for Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas finished fourth for Williams, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and the other Williams of Felipe Massa.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo continued his solid run in the points this season with seventh, albeit it a lap down, ahead of Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, who scored points for the third successive race despite a gearbox problem and overshooting his pitbox and scattering his crew, who were unhurt.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr finished ninth, after banging wheels and passing Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat on the final lap. The Russian completed the points-finishers.
Max Verstappen was 11th in the other Toro Rosso, ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, whose team-mate Marcus Ericsson was two places adrift in 14th. Both Toro Rossos swiftly fell back from their row-three qualifying positions.
Force India, which is expecting to have its updated ‘B-spec’ car in Austria, ended a difficult weekend with Sergio Perez 13th and Nico Hulkenberg 15th respectively.
McLaren’s wait for its first points of the season continues, with Jenson Button – making his 100th start for McLaren – 16th while his team-mate Fernando Alonso retired with brake problems after a spell running seventh on an alternative strategy.
Bad luck continued for 2012 Spanish GP winner Pastor Maldonado, who ran as high as seventh. He retired having driven much of the race with a broken rear wing.
The Manor-run Marussias brought up the field, with Will Stevens three laps down in 17th and Roberto Merhi 18th, a further lap behind.
RESULTS – 66 LAPS:
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1 Lap|
|8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1 Lap|
|11||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|12||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|16||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|17||Will Stevens||Marussia/Ferrari||3 Laps|
|18||Roberto Merhi||Marussia/Ferrari||4 Laps|