Belfast Telegraph

Lewis Hamilton savours first taste of Spanish glory

By Ian Parkes

Lewis Hamilton served up a psychological hammer blow to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.

It was Hamilton's fourth successive win, and the team's fourth consecutive one-two.

This race, however, is likely to be one that will hurt Rosberg for some time ahead of Formula One's blue riband event in Monaco in a fortnight.

Although Hamilton was clean away from pole, the 29-year-old grumbled often throughout the race, complaining about oversteer, the back end of the car sliding out, graining on his tyres, his strategy and how much time he had lost to Rosberg in the pit stops.

At times it was a nervous, tetchy Hamilton behind the wheel, whereas Rosberg appeared to drive serenely behind as he managed the gap.

To give the German his shot at victory, Mercedes altered tyre plans from the first stop onwards, and Rosberg reeled Hamilton in.

But despite finally managing to get within a second late on, Rosberg ran out of laps and not once had a crack at making a pass on Hamilton, who ultimately won by just 0.6 seconds.

It means for the first time since June 2012 Hamilton now leads the drivers' standings, moving three points ahead of Rosberg.

As wins go, Hamilton's first in Spain, this one was crucial as he said: "It means everything to me.

"Getting my first grand prix win here after being in the sport eight years, it's very difficult to put the feeling into words.

"Never have I had a car like this, nor a gap like this before.

"But I know I wasn't fast enough. Nico was quicker, I struggled with the balance, but I was able to keep him behind.

"I really had to rely on my engineers a lot more to give me the gaps and try to find where I could find time, also with my settings as I was moving them up and down, really trying to find extra time."

Rosberg is determined Hamilton will not make it five wins in a row in Monaco, a race the former won from pole last year.

"Second place, I'm still close in the championship and with many more races to go," said Rosberg.

"I'll be heading to Monaco where I'll put in a massive effort to go one better, to repeat the win from last year."

Mercedes' dominance was such that Daniel Ricciardo finished 49 seconds adrift in his Red Bull.

As for Ricciardo's team-mate Sebastian Vettel, he finished fourth after starting 15th.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas was fifth, whilst Ferrari had to settle for sixth and seventh, with Kimi Raikkonen passed by Fernando Alonso two laps from home.

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