Spanish Grand Prix 2015 Recap

After trailing behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton in the first four races this year, Nico Rosberg finally was able to win his first title this season by winning the Spanish Grand Prix. The win brings him back to the title race and is now behind by just 20 points in the drivers’ standings to Hamilton. Let’s look back at the events that happened in Barcelona last weekend.

Qualifying

For the first time this season, Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton in the qualifying to take the pole position for Sunday’s race. This could be a huge factor on the outcome of the race on Sunday as overtaking opportunities here in Barcelona are very few and most of the winners here have started at the pole. Hamilton who complained about the balance of his Mercedes all throughout the qualifying sessions came out as second to Rosberg. The McLaren duo of Button and Alonso has improved their results here and they will begin the race on 13th and 14th places respectively. This is also the first time this season that all 20 drivers from the ten teams were able to participate in the qualifying sessions.

Racing Conditions

The weather conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya were perfect on Sunday as the teams get ready for the competition. It isn’t too hot like in Malaysia, despite the sun shining brightly and with only a few clouds in the skies. The teams’ primary concern here is on the conservation of their tyres during the race. The track here is among the roughest in F1 and tyre management is key to winning here.

The Grid

The Race

All the drivers opted to start with medium compound tyres here. On the first lap, Rosberg takes the lead and his followed by Sebastian Vettel and then Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg steadily improves his lead as he records the fastest time in some of the laps that followed. On lap 6, his lead is now 4.5 seconds from his fellow German, Sebastian Vettel.

On lap 10, Hamilton records the fastest lap and begins to close in on Vettel. Hulkenberg was the first among the drivers to make his first stop. Other drivers soon began making their first stops also. On lap 13, Hamilton does his first and again some of the crew in Mercedes disappointed him as it took them longer than usual to change his left tyre. He came back to the race in seventh place. Rosberg and Vettel made their first stops in the following laps and they both went smoothly.

On lap 18, the leaders are as follows: Rosberg, Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas and Raikkonen. Hamilton was able to get back on third after the other drivers also made their first stop. On lap 24, Rosberg now leads Vettel by 6 seconds. On lap 27, Fernando Alonso entered the pits and almost had a big accident after his brakes failed. He was unable to stop on the right place and he nearly hit some of his McLaren teammates. Luckily no one was hurt there, but this race is now over for him.

Hamilton makes his second stop on lap 33 changing to hard compound tyres. This one went on smoothly unlike his first stop. The top five remains unchanged after 40 laps- they’re still Rosberg, Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas and Raikonnen.
On lap 41, Grosjean almost hurt one of his teammates in Lotus when he went into the pit lane. Thankfully, it was not serious. On lap 46, Rosberg makes his final stop. Hamilton takes the lead, but the Briton will make another stop, so he’ll not be in front for long. Pastor Maldonado makes his last stop on lap 47, but while in the pit lane, he is told by his team that he needs to retire from the race. This brings down the race to 18 runners.

Hamilton continues to catch up on Rosberg in the succeeding laps, but he still trails behind the German by more than ten seconds. On lap 60, the leaders remain unchanged: Rosberg, Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, and Raikkonen. This order will remain unchanged until the final lap and the race will win with Rosberg bagging his first win for this year.

After Thoughts

The Spanish GP this year wasn’t really exciting to watch but at least its results gave some excitement to the title race this season. With the win, Rosberg is now back on the title hunt.

He now has 91 points, just 20 points behind Hamilton who has 111 points. Vettel is on far third with 80 points. Part of Hamilton’s loss here can be attributed to his team. He complained about steering wheel problems during the qualifying and also had a problem in his first stop.

Hopefully, all things will go right for him on the next race in Monaco which is on May 24.