Rosberg pips Hamilton as Mercedes ease to one-two in Barcelona

Nico Rosberg takes the chequered flag in Barcelona
Nico Rosberg takes the chequered flag in Barcelona

The Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed another impressive one-two finish on Sunday in the FIA F1 World Championship, but this time it was the team’s German driver, Nico Rosberg, who tasted the victory champagne.

Rosberg dominated the opening European race of the 2015 season, starting from pole position, and drove comfortably to secure his first victory of the season and narrow the gap to his team-mate and World Championship leader Hamilton at the head of the Drivers’ Standings.

Rosberg said: “The pace of my car was good all weekend. Everything went well and the team did a great job. I was able to qualify on pole and I could control the race from the front.

“I didn’t really have any issues and I kept a good gap to Lewis throughout the race. I know he was pushing, and wanted to try and catch me, but I don’t think it would have been possible for him to win.”

A frustrated Hamilton expressed his disappointment afterwards after he was denied the opportunity to chase down Rosberg during the closing laps, when the Mercedes team advised him to hold station and secure second position.

The reigning world champion said: “This is not what I wanted to hear near the end of the race, and I won’t be not driving to win again.

“I wanted to push, as if I was pushing, Nico would have been pushing as well and a win might have been possible for me.

“But second is where I finished and now I am looking ahead to Monaco. That is a race I haven’t won in a while, and I am determined to do so this year.”

Sebastian Vettel secured the final podium place for Ferrari to remain third in the World Championship table, while Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa completed the top six finishers.

The Bicester-based Toro Rosso team scored a ninth place finish courtesy of Carlos Sainz Jr. The Spaniard, driving in his first home Grand Prix, proved strong in qualifying and battled hard for his championship points.

A clash with the Red Bull of Russian driver Daniil Kvyat near the end sparked an investigation by the Stewards, but eventually went unpenalised and was deemed a racing incident. Max Verstappen in the second Toro Rosso finished 11th.

The Silverstone-based Sahara Force India cars finished well down the order. Sergio Perez crossed the line 13th, with Nico Hulkenberg back in 15th with his VJM08-Mercedes.

Standings after round five: 1) Hamilton, 111pts; 2) Rosberg, 91pts; 3) Vettel, 80pts; 4) Raikkonen, 52pts. Next race: Monaco, May 24.