Nico Rosberg claims his first win of the season at the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix.
Under the glorious Spanish sun, Nico Rosberg claimed his first win of the season after dominating the Spanish Grand Prix. A race where pole position wins are high, and today Rosberg utilised a great launch to hold onto his lead into turn one. Hamilton had to recover from a poor start but the best he could manage was second after Vettel kept the Silver Arrow at bay for most of the race.
Heading into the race, Nico held the advantage with pole position after claiming the top spot in a comfortable qualifying session. But back in FP2, when the teams looked for race preparation, it was Lewis who topped the session.
But practice and qualifying was all in the past and when the five red lights faded away Formula One was back racing in Europe.
Off the line Hamilton suffered a great deal of wheel-spin causing his get away to be slow. Worse for the Brit was he could see Rosberg pulling away after his team-mate carried out a perfect launch in order to have a clean run down to turn one. But whilst Rosberg pulled further away, Vettel and Bottas were pulling alongside Hamilton and even got ahead of the Mercedes pushing Lewis down to fourth.
As the early laps were ticked off, Vettel and Hamilton fell further behind Rosberg as Nico etched out a stronger lead with fastest laps to match. Unfortunately for Lewis, being behind Sebastian was causing the life of his tyres to fade away faster than the team would have wanted and began contemplating a change of strategy.
Other teams soon joined the bandwagon and switched their strategies to a three-stop race rather than the expected two, with Hulkenberg the first to hit the pits.
A few laps later, Hamilton found himself tucked up behind Vettel before fading into the pits. With the team looking to carry out the undercut on the Ferrari a slow stop would be the worse they could fear. But a slow rear-left tyre change saw their hopes of an undercut whipped away from their clutches and Vettel’s lead increase.
But at least his car was still fully in tact, even if the championship leader was running seven seconds off the lead and in third. Whereas Maldonado was forced to hit the pits with his rear wing end fence damaged.
Up until lap 15 he had been attacking the cars ahead and getting his Lotus into the points, but slight contact with Grosjean saw his end fence break away. Luckily for him he was able to continue without it with relatively strong pace even if he was now behind the McLaren’s and Sauber’s.
Jenson Button however was no issue for the Lotus when he came around to overtake the McLaren, who was swiftly lapped by Rosberg. But it was Jenson’s team-mate, Fernando Alonso who was suffering despite being further down the road.
At the time Alonso was running in 14th place, but in a lap to forget he applied the brakes for turn one but failed to slow in time. Running deep into the corner he lost ground to the cars ahead but by the end of the lap he was heading for the pits. Worse came for Fernando however as he overshot his box and stormed into the front jack. Luckily the front jack man jumped out of the way but it was game over for Fernando after his brakes could take no more.
Back out in front, Rosberg was continuing to build his lead to over 10 seconds whilst Hamilton attempted to undercut Vettel. But this time around, Ferrari did not cover Hamilton and kept Vettel out despite Lewis taking over two seconds away from Vettel’s advantage following a new fastest lap of the race.
In fact Ferrari did not call Vettel in for almost 10 laps and in that time Lewis made his way back into third before claiming second when Seb pulled into the pits. But by stretching out his stint, Vettel sat with the possibility of a two-stop strategy. Even if for the meantime he was in fourth and a long way back from Rosberg.
But Seb was not behind Bottas for long and continued with his final stint by managing his tyres while Hamilton led the race following Nico’s final pit stop. As for Kimi, Raikkonen was pounding around the track in search of the William’s duo. Thundering past Massa under DRS and reeling in Bottas over the laps.
Further down the road Hamilton was being told Vettel was in his pit stop window and he could come out in front should he pit. And a few laps later, Hamilton returned to his box for one last time and exited the pit lane comfortably ahead of the Ferrari. However he now found himself with new medium tyres and 14 laps to go but with a 20 second deficit to Rosberg.
However for Hamilton as the final laps came into action his charge for the win came to an end. Well, in the team’s perspective his charge was at its end. With eight laps remaining, Lewis sat 15 seconds behind Nico and the team felt it would be best to consolidate the position. But Hamilton had not given up just yet and questioned back “Is it impossible?”. Unfortunately for him the team felt so but Lewis still pushed hard and ate away at some of Rosberg’s lead.
Further back, the two Toro Rosso youngsters battled it out for the final point scoring position. Carlos Sainz began the race in fifth place and as the highest Spaniard on the grid. But as the race unfolded, Carlos found himself falling back down the order and behind the Red Bull’s. But with fresher tyres fitted to his car, he picked off Verstappen and moved into tenth.
But after a dominant race, Rosberg claimed his first win of the season to convert his pole into 25-points. Hamilton settled for second and took the flag 17 seconds after his team-mate. But Vettel provided him with no late challenge and the German claimed the final podium slot, 45 seconds down on Rosberg.
After a late challenge, Bottas managed to hold off Raikkonen for fourth place. While Kvyat lost P9 to Sainz on the final lap. However Carlos Sainz completed the overtake by using the run off at turn 1 and following the chequered flag received an investigation for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.