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F1: Spain – Hamilton wins fourth straight, Rosberg takes P2; Red Bull rising?

The two Mercedes started on the front row at Circuit de Catalyuna, Lewis Hamilton on pole and Nico Rosberg next to him. The duo maintained their positions at the start, with Valtteri Bottas (Williams) taking third from Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull). During Lap 6 (of 66) Ricciardo was advised by this team that he didn’t have the speed to overtake and to drop back to a 2-sec gap and maintain his tires.

During Lap 14, however, Ricciardo was still just 0.466 sec behind the Finn, with Rosberg in P2 reporting no graining as yet on his option tires. Ricciardo pitted one lap later. Hamilton came in during Lap 19 and Bottas Lap 21, falling behind Ricciardo in the process. Rosberg’s pit during Lap 22 finished with him 2.8 sec back of Hamilton once he was back on track.

Hamilton was running his second set of medium-compound option tires during Lap 29 when reported significant looseness in the rear of his car. His lead over Rosberg, however, had extended to 4.589 sec, adding time on consecutive Laps 28-30. He had used nearly 2 kg more fuel than Rosberg over the course of the race thus far.

Mercedes began its second cycle of pit stops by bringing Hamilton in from the lead during Lap 44. Rosberg came in two laps later amid questions from Hamilton as to why he was brought in when he was if his pace was still good. Ricciardo and Bottas also both pitted during Lap 46, maintaining P3 and P4 respectively.

Rosberg closed to within 2.067 sec during Lap 54, with Hamilton reporting bad graining on his left front in subsequent laps. At Lap 61, Hamilton’s lead was down to 1.211 sec. It stood at 0.976 during Lap 64 and 0.567 as the final lap began.

Hamilton won the race by 0.6 sec, with Ricciardo coming in third and his teammate Sebastian Vettel climbing all the way from P15 on the grid to take fourth. The win, his fourth straight and first in eight tries at Catalyuna, moved Hamilton in front of Rosberg at the top of the drivers’ championship for the first time this season. Vettel and Ricciardo moved into fourth and fifth respectively, both leapfrogging Nico Hulkenberg (Force India).

 

Driver standings (Top 10)

Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 100

Nico Rosberg (Germany), Mercedes – 97

Fernando Alonso (Spain), Ferrari – 49

Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Red Bull-Renault  - 45

Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull-Renault – 39

Nico Hulkenberg (Germany), Force India-Mercedes – 37

Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Williams-Mercedes – 34

Jenson Button (Great Britain), McLaren-Mercedes – 23

Kevin Magnussen (Denmark), McLaren-Mercedes – 20

Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India-Mercedes – 20

 

Team standings (teams earning points)

Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) – 197

Red Bull Racing-Renault (Vettel, Ricciardo) – 84

Ferrari (Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen) – 66

Force India-Mercedes (Hulkenberg, Perez) – 57

Williams-Mercedes (Bottas, Felipe Massa) – 46

McLaren-Mercedes (Magnussen, Button) – 43

STR-Renault (Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniil Kvyat) – 8

 

 Next event: Grand Prix de Monaco – Monte Carlo  - May 22-25

Posted in: Sports
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