Lewis Hamilton did it again on Sunday, this time winning the Pirelli Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, to pick up his fourth straight Formula One victory of the 2014 season. Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg was on the opposite tire strategy and closed on the final run to catch Hamilton in the closing laps but the 29-year-old from England was able to keep a steady wheel and claimhis first career victory in Spain.
For Hamilton the win marks the 26th of his Formula One career and he also took the points lead from Rosberg now after five races. Rosberg on the other hand had to settle for second behind Hamilton for the fourth straight race. Rosberg's five podium finishes, after he won the season opener in Australia, give him the most he has ever had in a single season. Those stats from both drivers show the dominance of the Mercedes team in the 2014 season.
In fact in the end, third place man Daniel Ricciardo was 49 seconds off the lead. For Ricciardo, he finally got to celebrate his first career podium finish after his second place in Australia was thrown out for fuel rate issues. Sebastian Vettel showed good form in the other Red Bull Racing car to move from 15th on the grid to finish fourth. Valtteri Bottas finished fifth for Williams Martini Racing and Fernando Alonso was sixth for Ferrari. Those were the only teams to finish on the lead lap after Mercedes set such a blistering pace.
The 66 lap race started with Hamilton and Rosberg on the front row and Ricciardo and Bottas in row two. Hamilton got a strong start and pulled away into and out of Turn 1. Rosberg settled in second after holding off a challenge from Bottas who got a great start. Ricciardo exited Turn 1 in fourth.
By lap 18 Hamilton led by 1.6 seconds on Rosberg and 23 seconds on Bottas. Hamilton then pitted at the end of lap 18 which gave the lead to Rosberg. Bottas piited on lap 20 but he came out in fourth behind Ricciardo, who had pitted on lap 14 and ran fast laps on new tires. Rosberg pitted on lap 21 and came out in second giving the lead back to Hamilton. For this second stint Hamilton was put on the medium tire and Rosberg on the hard compound as the Mercedes team varied the strategy of their two teams.
Jean-Eric Vergne took his Toro Rosso to the garage with exhaust issues on lap 24. Then on lap 34 the Caterham of Kamui Kobayashi retired with brake issues. Those were the only two retirements in the race.
On lap 42 Hamilton led Rosberg by 3.8 seconds and then Hamilton pitted on lap 43 and put on the hard tire. When he did Hamilton questioned his teams strategy on the radio as he was worried that Rosberg was on the better course of action. Rosberg then pitted on lap 45 and changed to the medium tire. After the stops Hamilton held about a five second lead on Rosberg but the lead was slashed to 3.6 seconds on lap 49. By lap 57 Rosberg had the lead trimmed to 2.1 seconds. Also on that lap Sebastian Vettel passed Kimi Raikkonen for fifth place.
By lap 59 Rosberg had trimmed the lead of Hamilton down to one second but then Hamilton stepped up his game and the margin would fluctuate between 0.9 and 1.0 seconds over the next few laps. On lap 64 with only three to go Alonso passed his Ferrari teammate Raikkonen for sixth and Vettel passed Bottas for fourth.
Rosberg closed to within 0.7 seconds with two laps left but Hamilton ran flawless laps on the final two to hold off Rosberg and win by 0.6 seconds. Ricciardo celebrated his first career podium with a distant third place finish.
Also scoring in the championship points in Spain were Vettel in fourth, Bottas fiffth, Alonso sixth, and Raikkonen seventh. Romain Grosjean scored his first championship points of the year for Lotus in eighth and then the Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were ninth and tenth.
Not scoring points were the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen in 11th and 12th. Felipe Massa was 13th for Williams, Daniil Kvyat 14th for Toro Rosso, and Pastor Maldonado 15th for Lotus. Then came the two Sauber drivers Esteban Gutierrez in 16th and Adrian Sutil 17th. They were followed by the Marussia duo of Jules Bianchi in 18th and Max Chilton 19th. Marcus Ericcson was the last car running in 20th.
After five races Lewis Hamilton leaped just ahead of Nico Rosberg in the driver standings by three points. Hamilton has 100 points and Rosberg 97. Fernando Alonso is third with 49 points, Sebastian Vettel fourth with 45, and Daniel Ricciardo fifth with 39. Nico Hulkenberg is sixth with 37, Valtteri Bottas seventh with 34, Jenson Button eighth with 23, Kevin Magnussen ninth with 20, and Sergio Perez tenth with 20. Kimi Raikkonen is down in 11th with 17 points, Felipe Massa is 12th with 12 points and Romain Grosjean, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat all have four points.
Mercedes has a massive lead in the constructor standings as they sit with 197 points. Red Bull racing is second with 84 and Ferrari is third with 66. Force India is fourth with 57, Williams is fifth with 46, and McLaren has dropped to sixth with 43. Toro Rosso is seventh with eight points and Lotus is eighth with four points. Sauber, Marussia, and Caterham have not scored points yet.
The next race up is the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, May 25th.Tags: Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, Formula One, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Motorsports, Nico Rosberg, Pirelli Spanish Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean, Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas