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Hamilton holds off Rosberg to take Spanish win

NEWS STORY
11/05/2014

Whether it was a minor blip or he was cruelly playing with his teammate, much like a cat with a mouse, Lewis Hamilton's failure to make it a clean sweep in FP3 yesterday offered Nico Rosberg the slightest glimmer of hope.

Indeed, there was another minor glimpse in Q3 before the Briton once again snatched it away.

Fact is, Lewis is in one of those rare phases in a racing driver's career where he is at one with his car. On Friday he was awesome, and that continued yesterday as he put together an almost perfect lap having previously appeared to have blown it.

Whilst nobody wants to see total domination there is something special when one sees a driver fully in tune with his car, a special feeling that so many of his rivals will be envying right now.

Whilst not wishing to get drawn in to the banal media frenzy surrounding the Hamilton/Rosberg relationship and how it might develop as the season progresses, one cannot help but notice that the popular young German is looking increasingly beaten.

Then again, whilst Lewis might have dismissed the services of the team's new psychologist, perhaps Nico would benefit from a couple of morale boosting sessions.

On the other hand so might Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and a whole host of others whose season already appears doomed.

The long, dragster-style run to the first corner will be fascinating today and it will be interesting to see who takes advantage as the Mercedes teammates battle one another. Ricciardo, Bottas, the Ferrari duo and Massa springing to mind. But keep an eye on Vettel, starting from 15th, also, the German 'enjoying' the weekend from hell.

On long runs, short runs, prime tyres, medium tyres, Hamilton's pace has been unreal this weekend, and at this point the only thing we can see robbing him of victory is over enthusiasm or poor reliability, and neither has been much of a problem thus far this year. Therefore, we appear to be looking at another (groan) Mercedes 1-2.

What should be fascinating however is the battle behind, with a number of tight, very competitive groups.

McLaren continues to play down its chances, almost to the point of boredom, and while we do not believe the team's issues have been resolved, both drivers have been performing better than expected this weekend. Ditto Williams, where Valtteri Bottas deserves serious kudos for that late qualifying lap.

For once, Raikkonen has the edge at Ferrari, however, whether the partisan crowd can lift Fernando Alonso in the same way that Nigel Mansell used to benefit at Silverstone remains to be seen. At least we know that the Spaniard will give 100%.

Vettel's problems will allow the ever improving, ever impressive Daniel Ricciardo to further compound his misery, the Australian highly likely to take the third place on the podium this afternoon.

After a strong start to the season, both Force India and Toro Rosso have struggled here, though we expect Hulkenberg, Perez and Kvyat to give good accounts of themselves, while strategy might allow the hapless Vergne to put on a show.

Lotus' misery continues, the Enstone outfit seemingly being hammered from all directions. Romain Grosjean put in as superb performance in qualifying, surely he deserves to take away something from this weekend.

At the back, Sauber will find itself under pressure from two fired-up Marussia drivers, the Swiss team but a shadow of its former self. As for Caterham, one cannot help but feel that this is a team that has effectively given up, the days of Tony Fernandes grinning from the prat-perch waving his Colin Chapman cap a very distant memory.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spartacus, 14/05/2014 17:35

"I was hoping ROS would have been in a better position to challenge but it seems he was barely able to catch HAM in the last 5 laps. It was obvious ROS dropped back to nurse the tires and then made a push but it took too long. HAM at this point is able to capitalize when he needs to. It was interesting to hear the radio interactions where HAM was questioning everything the RD was transmitting. It doesn't sound like he trusts their decisions and they have to justify why, when HAM should just be driving."

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2. Posted by JackTheCat, 12/05/2014 12:32

"The race was pretty average, but one thing is for sure.... all those 'experts' who called Hamilton everything from a greedy fool to a total 'tosser' on one certain forum for moving to Mercedes from McLaren are starting to look really stupid right now... a fact Hailton himself alluded to yesterday!"

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3. Posted by imejl99, 12/05/2014 10:19

"If we assume that the new regulations were interpreted by Ross Brawn year or two ago, and car made based on his instruction, combined with Mercedes power unit, rest of the field will close the gap at 10th race or so.

Adrian Newey made a great car by new regulations, they will be first to catch up, assuming Renault PU will be more and more reliable.

If we exclude Mercedes, rest of the filed is not that far apart, ther are few teams within one second. Considering everything, I am not that convinced with last year`s Barcelona Pirelli Mercedes tire test "no gain" any more."

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4. Posted by karel, 12/05/2014 9:29

"I can agree with previous comments, Hamilton is as good as the new world champion already, so why looking ?, but it has not much to do with his intrinsick skills as a driver but has all to do with effert Mercedes has put in translating the new regulations in a working car. Although for me F1 has lost it's spirit and it's getting worser by every race."

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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 12/05/2014 8:57

"I think "rubbish" is a bit strong, but it was certainly not "classic" either. Despite the real interest and technological innovations of the new power plants, F1 is still in largely thrall to the artifice of stupid tyre rules, and gimmicks like DRS.

What interested me in this race was that Vettel seems to have come to grips with the car, though it seems that as ever Red Bull can't turn-out two decent cars that last a whole weekend...

I was also interested to see that Hamilton "managed" his car pretty efficiently throughout the race - using less fuel than most. He also nursed his tyres sufficiently to finish ahead of Rosberg, despite the fact that the latter was on a clearly superior strategy, and gained at least 2 seconds in pit-stops.
Surely this gives the lie to the cliché that Lewis is intrinsically fast, but not necessarily as technically savvy as his team mate. "

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6. Posted by Kkiirmki, 11/05/2014 21:23

"I'm probably going to be in the minority in saying this race was another rubbish one. Some of the comments I've heard are incredulous, "great race", "thriller" and my personal favourite "66 laps of exciting motorsport". Except for a couple of laps at the end when Rosberg had a chance (a very, very, very small one) of maybe passing Hamilton the result was a certainty from the first lap.

I just don't think Rosberg has what it takes to beat Hamilton this year. If it wasn't for his mechanical failure in Australia Hamilton would probably have won that one too. Rosberg maybe good for a few race wins but is he a championship contender with Hamilton as his team mate?"

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