A good start put Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel between the two Mercedes drivers in the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, May 10, but the race ended up with yet another one-two finish for the dominant German team. Instead of this season’s Lewis Hamilton-Nico Rosberg closer, however, pole-sitter Rosberg kept his lead in Barcelona and took home his first win of the 2015 season.
Rosberg had not won a race since 2014, certainly not a long drought for many drivers, but when you come in second in the FIA Formula One Drivers’ Championship by flip-flopping with your teammate over and over all season, it must have seemed like a long time to the German. According to Formula 1, Rosberg’s lead over Hamilton at the finish was 17.5 seconds.
History can be made at any time in Formula 1 racing, even if race finishes for its most avid fans are sometimes less than surprising. Rosberg’s win achieved these facts, according to the series:
“A beautifully composed drive in Spain gave Nico Rosberg his first win of the season and ninth career victory, but it also moved him level with Australia’s late, great triple world champion Jack Brabham on 31 career podiums. Fittingly, Rosberg achieved the feat 56 years to the day that ‘Black Jack’ recorded his maiden F1 win at Monaco, which also happened to be the first win for a rear-engined car.”
About his first win of the season, Rosberg commented simply, ” Just a fantastic weekend. Everything worked out on Saturday and Sunday. It all came together. I’m very happy and that’s it.”
Britain’s Lewis Hamilton commented about Vettel zipping by him at the start and then difficulty of overtaking on the Barcelona track, “Yeah, obviously I had quite a poor start,” he said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had such a poor start. I tried my best to recover – I nearly dropped back to fourth at the start so I was very fortunate to keep third – and then it was just trying to fight… Unfortunately, this track isn’t very good for overtaking. Actually it’s the worst for overtaking. It’s impossible to follow here, which is a shame. I don’t know how it was further back but for the guys at the front it’s just… it doesn’t matter what you do you cannot get close enough even with the DRS, which is a shame.”
Asked if he thinks Ferrari is still in the fight this year, Vettel said, “Yes, I think I’m in the fight. We are able to improve our car. I think there’s some good steps coming. Obviously our opponent is the favorite for the whole year and was untouchable last year to be fair, so I think the way you need to look at it is not that Mercedes is so strong, the way you need to look at it is that Ferrari was able to close the gap more than anyone else. I think we can be proud of that and we are very much willing to take our chance. Obviously we need to start turning things around very soon – but we are pushing to our maximum, trying to beat them soon.”
Placements beyond the podium in the Spanish Grand Prix, according to Formula 1, were: 4th, Valtteri Bottas (Williams); 5th, Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari); 6th, Felipe Massa (Williams); 7th, Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull); 8th, Romain Grosjean (Lotus); 9th, Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso); 10th, Danil Kvyat (Red Bull); 11th, Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso); 12th, Felipe Nasr (Sauber); 13th, Sergio Perez (Force India); 14th, Marcus Ericsson (Sauber); 15th, Nico Hulkenberg (Force India); 16th, Jenson Button (McLaren); 17th, Will Stevens (Marussia); and 18th, Roberto Merhi (Marussia). Both McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado retired.
Spain’s favored son Fernando Alonso had brake problems coming into the pits during the race, forcing his retirement. According to Formula 1, the problem was caused by a visor tear-off blocking the right rear brake duct of his McLaren MP4-30.
Formula 1 now prepares for the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks. Going into that race, the championship points for drivers sits at Hamilton in the lead with 111, 20 points ahead of teammate Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel is in third place with 80 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes maintains its lead of the series with 202 points to Ferrari’s 132 and Williams’s 81.