Rosberg ends win drought with commanding Spanish GP victory

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Nico Rosberg secured a dominant first win of the 2015 season at the Spanish Grand Prix, leading home team-mate Lewis Hamilton to secure a one-two for Mercedes.

The German took a comfortable lights to flag victory, with Hamilton a distant second, ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who rounded out the rostrum in third.

Rosberg led the field away from pole, with Hamilton dropping to third behind the fast-starting Vettel.

Rosberg quickly dropped Vettel, but Hamilton was unable to clear the Ferrari, prompting Mercedes to switch the reigning champion to ‘Plan B,’ in an attempt to try the undercut.

This meant an early stop for Hamilton on lap 13, but a sticky left-rear tyre cost him precious time, allowing Vettel to retain track position when he pitted a lap later.

Rosberg covered the pair with his own opening stop on the following lap, re-joining comfortably ahead.

The German stretched his lead during the second stint, while a three-stopping Hamilton was in early again for a second stop, moving onto the hard tyres.

Hamilton make quick progress, clearing first Kimi Raikkonen and then Valtteri Bottas, with an eye to jumping the still yet to stop Vettel.

The Ferrari racer pitted on lap 41, re-joining in third, behind Hamilton, who was pushing to build the advantage needed to jump Vettel at his final stop.

Rosberg made his stop five laps later, briefly promoting Hamilton into the lead, which  the reigning champion relinquished on lap 51 as he pitted for the third and final time, crucially coming out ahead of Vettel.

Hamilton traded fastest laptimes with his team-mate in the closing stages, but was unable to seriously dent Rosberg’s advantage as the German cruised home to his first win of 2015.

Vettel, having lost out to Hamilton in the pits, collected his fourth podium finish of the year in third.

Valtteri Bottas crossed the line fourth for Williams, having seen off a late challenge from Kimi Raikkonen, who struggled to make progress from seventh on the grid.

Felipe Massa was sixth in the other Williams, ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who came home a lapped seventh.

Romain Grosjean finished eighth for Lotus, despite losing time in the pits when he clipped a mechanic.

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. slipped down the order to finish ninth after banging wheels with Daniil Kvyat on the final lap, dropping the Russian to tenth.

Like Sainz, team-mate Max Verstappen struggled in the race, coming home 11th, and outside of the points.

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Felipe Nasr beat Sergio Perez to finish 12th and lead the Sauber/Force India battle, with team-mate Marcus Ericsson 14th, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.

Jenson Button was a lapped 16th for McLaren-Honda, while team-mate Fernando Alonso ran as high as seventh before encountering a terminal brakes failure which caused him to overshoot his pit box and into retirement.

Pastor Maldonado damaged the rear wing of his car early on but raced on until he parked the Lotus in the closing stages.

The two Manor Marussia cars rounded out the order, with Will Stevens comfortably shading team-mate Roberto Merhi to finish 17th.

Images courtesy of Daimler

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