F1: Hamilton takes 4th consecutive win in Spanish Mercedes' 1-2
-By Daniel Smith
It was another dominant race from Mercedes at the Circuit de Catalunya as Lewis Hamilton takes his fourth consecutive victory and Mercedes’ fourth consecutive 1-2 victory of the 2014 season. It is also the first time that Hamilton has won at the Spanish Grand Prix and has now overtaken team mate Nico Rosberg to go top of the World Driver’s Championship.
It was a largely uneventful start to the race. Mercedes leapt away from the rest of the grid, something we’ve been accustomed to with Sebastian Vettel prior to 2014. 2012 race winner Pastor Maldonado’s reputation took another hit after causing a collision with Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson resulting in a 5 second stop and go penalty. In contrast, his team mate Romain Grosjean has had a great weekend and started fifth but was struggling to cope with the surrounding drivers particularly on the straight.
Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel had a woeful start to the weekend. He completed only 25 laps in the free practice sessions and in Q3 his gearbox failed, resulting in a 5 place grid penalty so he had to start 15th. He turned the weekend around though during the race by gaining 11 positions during the race and finished an impressive fourth place, although still way off where Vettel would have liked to finish.
The race itself was largely uneventful up until the final ten laps when there were inter-team battles between the Mercs and Ferrari’s. Fernando Alonso was looking to give his home fans something to cheer about and overtook Kimi Raikkonen with three laps to go. On the same lap Sebastian Vettel made a move on Valtteri Bottas to take fourth place. Rosberg was piling the pressure on the dominant Hamilton in the final few laps. As Hamilton begun the final lap, he got a stroke of luck as he managed to get DRS from the car in front which was seventh place Kimi Raikkonen which shows just how dominant Mercedes have been this season.
The final podium spot went to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who earned his first podium of the season after having his third place finish at Melbourne revoked with team mate Vettel finishing behind him on fourth. Valtteri Bottas had a good race and finished fifth with the Ferrari’s of Alonso and Raikkonen in sixth and seventh. Romain Grosjean finished eighth place and earned Lotus’ first points of the season. The two Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg took the final points positions respectively but it was another frustrating race for McLaren, finishing just out of the points again with Button finishing 11th with team mate Kevin Magnussen in 12th.
Hamilton now leads by three points over team mate Rosberg and has more than double the points of former team mate Alonso in third on 49 points. In the Constructors championship, Mercedes continue to lead and are more than 100 points ahead of second place Red Bull.