It was an off weekend for Lewis Hamilton but that wasn’t the story for his teammate, Nico Rosberg who claimed victory on Sunday at the Spanish grand Prix. The German needed to dig deep, find the qualifying pace he had once enjoyed in 2014 and convert that pace to victory—he did exactly that.
For Nico, the season was turning into a Lewis Hamilton exhibition on how to win a world championship with ease and perhaps Hamilton’s globe-trotting over the last two weeks with movie appearances, Met Gala, LA, Vegas, New York, London and much more was a schedule that was hard to recover from. Regardless of the reasons, Lewis was uncomfortable all weekend long with an unbalanced car and little insight on how to improve it.
For Rosberg, he needed a recovery drive to open his account on the 2015 world championship. Spain was a terrific win for Nico as he didn’t put a foot wrong the entire weekend. The question could be, will Spain represent a turning point for Rosberg and can he take that momentum to fuel a rejuvenated Nico and fight for the title?
Lewis deserves a win for the recovery drive to second place. If he was a bit “off” this weekend, his ability to make an on-the-fly race strategy B work for second place was a testament that he was waking up and realizing that he needed to push hard. The problems Lewis was having this weekend may have prevented a win but it was his sheer desire and ability that made a 2nd-place possible.
Sebastian Vettel said he felt traffic may have an issue but the team simply wasn’t able to cover Lewis’s plan B which was a three-stopper. Regardless, Seb managed to keep the Ferrari in the hunt for a well-deserved podium finish.
Valtteri Bottas held off his fellow Fin to claim 4th place in Spain. While rumors have Bottas signed at Ferrari as a replacement for Kimi Raikkonen, the Finnish driver denied the rumors and made it clear that even if they were true, it wouldn’t be a bad decision on anyone’s part given his ability to hold off Raikkonen.
It was a big win for Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr. who claimed 9th after a good battle for position with his much-vaunted teammate, Max Verstappen. A home grand prix for Sainz, he took the motivation and converted it to on-track performance.
Give the trouble that both Red Bull and Lotus had, finishing in the top 10 was a slight victory in an otherwise difficult race in what is a challenging season for both teams.
McLaren came to the Spanish Grand Prix with hopes of a points finish but with a DNF for Fernando Alonso and no points for Jenson Button, the weekend was a damp squib for sure. Not even “predatory grey colorization” could overcome their “desperately black lack of performance”.
A fail for the Lotus drivers for clashing which resulted in a broken rear wing which ultimately ended Pastor Maldonado’s race early. The same Alan Permane-fueled frustration could be heard on the radio calls to Romain Grsojean about his driving style that was hurting the engine too. The drivers would do well to refrain from getting Permane on the radio, as the whole world feels scolded when that guy talks.
Ferrari had, like all the teams, brought a raft of upgrades and the hope was to close the gap to Mercedes. By the end of the race, Sebastian Vettel was 45 seconds adrift of Nico Rosberg and while traffic played a role in the gap, it suggests that Ferrari didn’t achieve what they may have hoped for—at least not at this type of circuit anyway. Perhaps Monaco will be another story?
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen looked poised for a possible podium but the team and driver managed to leak the potential through strategy, traffic and degrading tires. Kimi suffered, much like Lewis, all weekend long and this causes concerns that the new upgrades may have moved away from Kimi’s liking—a bad thing if there ever was one. This isn’t like shooting wamp rats in your T-16 back home, kid.
Things change from track to track but it is odd that Nico Rosberg had his car sorted all weekend and while experiencing the same wind gusts and track temperatures, he seemed to get on top of the car balance. The same can’t be said of Lewis Hamilton and it seems a bit odd that the team couldn’t find the balance with Lewis all weekend. One presumes they will have a long look at that chassis to determine why they could never find harmony all weekend long—maybe they’ll find that big hat he wore at Mayweather fight was stuck under the brake pedal or his acting script from the Zoolander movie was wedged under the throttle. Wonder fi this contract issue is in play here?
McLaren’s troubles were evident during Fernando Alonso’s pit stop having nearly wiped out his entire crew while sliding through the pit box. On the other side of the garage, Jenson Button said he had understeer until he gave it the wellie and then he would lose the rear end. That’s a serious problem by anyone’s measure. How do you solve understeer everywhere and oversteer every time to touch the throttle?
Renault may have been simply focused on reliability this weekend and they did manage to get four Renault-powered cars to the finish but the lack of pace is punishing. The engine maker needs to take a serious look at spending some of those tokens they’ve been hoarding and make the needed changes.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1 Lap|
|8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1 Lap|
|11||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|12||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|16||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|17||Will Stevens||Marussia/Ferrari||3 Laps|
|18||Roberto Merhi||Marussia/Ferrari||4 Laps|