F1 2014: Spanish Grand Prix

For the fourth time in a row this season, Rosberg failed to pip teammate Hamilton to the line, giving the Brit a fourth win in a row.

To put things into perspective, whenever a driver wins 4 in a row, they have never gone onto lose the title in the history of the sport. This is also the first time Hamilton has led the Championship (now by 3 points) since Canada 2012.

The Spanish Grand Prix was a humdinger.

Of course, one team was racing in a different hemisphere, but even the best of the rest race heated up towards the end. It was rookie Riccardio that managed to finally get his first podium after heartbreak in Australia where he was disqualified. Moreover, Champion Vettel weaved his way like only he can from 16th to finish 4th on a day where he could have single-handedly converted the fortunes of Red Bull Racing if he had started in the top 10. Unfortunately, he didn’t make Q3 on Saturday, and had to settle for a come-from-behind storm. Eventually, the frustration on both Red Bull drivers’ faces was visible, even though their car has gotten increasingly more competitive over the 5 races.

Sadly for them, even though anything can happen in the drivers Championship, the Constructors title has all but gone to a rampaging Mercedes team—who had begun the season with a target of 28 points per race. They’re way above that, and just did their 4th consecutive 1-2 of the season. If not for Hamilton’s rotten luck in Melbourne, it would have been a 5th, but the Brit will settle for yet another pole-to-flag win in a car that brought back memories of Brawn GP in 2009. It’s a tribute to Rosberg’s consistency that he is still only 3 points behind his teammate after winning just 1 of the 5 races. He finished second for the 4th time in a row, in what must surely have become an annoying trend for the German. As was evident from his face after Qualifying, he wasn’t too happy starting from second because he knew how difficult it was to overtake on the Barcelona Circuit. But his irritation had a lot to do with the fact that he was clearly the quicker driver all weekend, but somehow, in some way, found himself taking 18 instead of 25 points from the weekend.

That Hamilton is a great frontrunner is well known, but his ability to defend desperately came to the fore, with Rosberg giving him heart palpitations in the last 10 laps—coming to within 0.6 seconds of him finally, from 4 seconds. Hamilton’s panic was evident on the radio where he complained about understir and everything else under the Spanish Sun, before squeezing out his most unconvincing but gritty win of 2014. Rosberg must surely be worried about how his teammate has outperformed him, and is aware that this could have been 5 in a row for the Brit if not for a mechanical issue in Melbourne. He has to find a way to pip Hamilton in Qualifying, but right now, he must feel a lot like Vettel behind his junior teammate Riccardio.

Alonso
is 3rd in the Championship, but that won’t last long—considering Red Bull’s better form, and Vettel’s inspired form. Still, they won’t be battling for the title anytime soon, and seem to have made peace with the fact that there are two seasons on at the same time. The first one is the Mercedes Calendar, and the second is the season they’re in with other teams.

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