/Hamilton Wins The Showdown In Spain

Hamilton Wins The Showdown In Spain

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The excitement of the 2014 F1 season is starting to lose its edge with the dominance of Mercedes still proving strong in Spain. It looked as though a few teams had wrung some time out of their cars and had somewhat bridged the gap, but alas, the Silver Arrows both looked extremely strong in free practice, trading top spots in the second and third sessions.

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The first qualifying session saw a red flag after five minutes thanks to Pastor Maldonado sending his Lotus into the wall at Turn 3. With 13 minutes remaining only a handful of cars had set a time.

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When the Mercedes hit the track, Rosberg was the first to take the top spot with Hamilton backing out of his run due to a mistake. Vettel stomped his authority over the field by managing a solid third.

Nico ended up fastest with his teammate complaining about his car’s handling.

Drivers not making the cut: Adrian Sutil, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton, Marcus Ericsson, Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado.

Ferrari sent Kimi out early in the second part of qualifying and the Flying Finn managed to go quickest, with Massa and Valtteri Bottas just behind.

Rosberg then easily topped the time sheets with Hamilton still a tenth off his teammate. Once again, Daniel Ricciardo proved Red Bull Racing made the right decision in signing him by eclipsing his World Champion teammate. Meanwhile, Grosjean and Alonso managed sixth and seventh, respectively.

Drivers not making Q3: Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Daniil Kvyat, Esteban Gutierrez, Kevin Magnussen and Jean-Eric Vergne.

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Vettel’s season has started off bad and now he has experienced what it must’ve of felt like being Mark “Unlucky” Webber, his former teammate. The World Champion pulled off the track in Q3 along with the radio message: “I have no drive. I’m sorry. I have no drive.”

Whilst Vettel’s chances were going down the drain, both of the Mercedes headed out early, and after the red flag for the recovery of the stranded Red Bull, Hamilton managed a slightly faster time than Rosberg.

Ricciardo set a quick lap by taking third, with Alonso close behind in forth. When the remaining cars pumped in their times at the end of the session, the order took a bit of a tumble for some.

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Qualifying Top 10:

1. Lewis Hamilton – (Mercedes)

2. Nico Rosberg – (Mercedes)

3. Daniel Ricciardo – (Red Bull Racing-Renault)

4. Valtteri Bottas – (Williams-Mercedes)

5. Romain Grosjean – (Toro Rosso)

6. Kimi Raikkonen – (Ferrari)

7. Fernando Alonso – (Ferrari)

8. Jenson Button – (McLaren)

9. Felipe Massa – (Williams-Mercedes)

10. Sebastian Vettel – (Red Bull Racing-Renault)

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With the thought of his teammate only a place behind him on the grid, Hamilton managed to make a great start and keep Rosberg at bay. Bottas, in third, stole a place off Red Bull driver, Ricciardo, whilst behind, Grosjean suffered a massive lock up but just held onto fifth.

Meanwhile Hamilton started to open up a 1.1-second gap over Rosberg, with Bottas another second back in third. Raikkonen had his mirrors full of Alonso but did a sterling job of holding off his him off.

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Red Bull’s Ricciardo took a stab down the inside of Bottas’ Williams into Turn 1 but he didn’t quite manage to pull it off and Bottas took the line for Turn 2.

As expected, the Mercedes cruised away at the front, Hamilton and Rosberg lapping in the low 1:32s – the rest of the field were managing mid-1m33s.

By lap 12 Vettel, having started in tenth, tried to take something away from the race and started to close up on the McLaren of Jenson Button. The German looked so much faster, although he pitted for fresh rubber a lap on.

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Up front Rosberg and Hamilton traded fastest times on Lap 20 and 21.

Rosberg pitted for hard tyres on Lap 22, leaving Hamilton on another strategy. The stop wasn’t fast enough, as Rosberg left the pits just behind the Brit.

Meanwhile, Raikkonen made a move around the outside of Lotus’ Grosjean – it appeared Lotus had another reliability issue with their engine’s performance.

Lap 26 and it was Alonso’s turn to take Grosjean for sixth. Alonso was now only 2.5 seconds behind the Flying Finn.

Rosberg is told to maintain the gap to Hamilton but look after his tyres for several laps until putting the hammer down.

As for Hamilton, he started to feel the pressure: “Can you give me a hand I’ve got too much oversteer… my rear end is everywhere.”

Rosberg continued to pile on the pressure by setting the fastest lap of the race to slash his gap down to just 4 seconds. Daniel Ricciardo is in a race of his own in third, 24 seconds behind Rosberg and 11.3 ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

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On Lap 35 Alonso pitted for hard rubber and ducked out just ahead of Felipe Massa. With fresh rubber Alonso effortlessly passed the McLaren of rookie Kevin Magnussen for ninth.

10 laps on and Rosberg pitted for medium compounds – with the bit between his teeth, he rejoined behind Hamilton on softer tyres.

Ricciardo and Bottas then both pitted, Ricciardo rejoining in third, Bottas in sixth.

Hamilton started showing his bratty side, coming over the radio and asking what his lap time was before the stop. “It was good, Lewis,” Hamilton then asked: “Why did you bring me in, then?”

Whist his teammate had a million things running through his head, Rosberg was concentrating on passing the Brit for the win. The German had already eaten into Hamilton’s lead by eight-tenths.

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With 10 laps to go, Vettel proved he was still a force to be reckoned with as he set the fastest lap of the race after rejoining in front of Alonso. The German had his sights on Raikkonen in fifth, and he managed to take the Finn a lap later.

Nico Rosberg had halved the gap to Hamilton to just 1.8 seconds – he just needed to break the one-second barrier to dip into the DRS range.

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Lap 62 and the gap had been slashed in half again to just 1.2-seconds. The German was wringing everything out of his Mercedes and managed to just dip under the one-second gap.

With the race escalating to a sensational finish, Bottas had his mirrors full of Vettel’s Red Bull whilst Raikkonen had his full of Ferrari.

The remaining laps were exciting until Rosberg locked up on the final lap and the challenge was over.

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Hamilton took the chequered flag, just ahead of his teammate for another Mercedes 1 – 2. Maybe if Rosberg had had another lap, the German could’ve done it. The Brit now leads the championship by 3 points over his teammate.

Spanish GP Result:

1. Lewis Hamilton – (Mercedes)

2. Nico Rosberg – (Mercedes)

3. Daniel Ricciardo – (Red Bull Racing-Renault)

4. Sebastian Vettel – (Red Bull Racing-Renault)

5. Valtteri Bottas – (Williams-Mercedes)

6. Fernando Alonso – (Ferrari)

7. Kimi Raikkonen – (Ferrari)

8. Romain Grosjean – (Lotus)

9. Sergio Perez – (Force India)

10. Nico Hulkenberg – (Force India)

11. Jenson Button – (McLaren-Mercedes)

12. Kevin Magnussen – (McLaren-Mercedes)

13. Massa – (Williams-Mercedes)

14. Daniil Kvyat – (Toro Rosso)

15. P Maldonado – (Lotus)

16. E Gutierrez – (Sauber)

17. A Sutil – (Sauber)

18. J Bianchi – (Marussia)

19. M Chilton – (Marussia)

20. M Ericsson – (Caterham)

21. K Kobayashi – (Caterham) DNF

22. J Vergne – (Toro Rosso) DNF


Hamilton – 100 Points

Rosberg – 97

Alonso – 49

Vettel – 45

Ricciardo – 39

Hulkenberg – 37

Bottas – 34

Button – 23

Magnussen – 20

Perez – 20

Next up is the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix on May 22-25 – can any of the teams take advantage of the closed circuit set up and manage to keep the Mercedes honest? Will Rosberg be looking for revenge in taking back the top spot? Bring it on!


(Journalist) – James is a published fiction and article writer from London (UK) with a serious penchant for Ferrari F1, anything with an engine, and English Pointers.