Five races, five wins. The Mercedes train rolls on and from what was seen in Spain, it is going to take some serious stopping. Lewis Hamilton won his fourth race in a row to take over the championship lead, but team-mate Nico Rosberg finished right on his tail at the Circuit de Catalunya to complete a fourth consecutive 1-2 for the German team.
Right now, it is a two-horse race for the win between Hamilton and Rosberg, with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo finishing third but a hefty fifty seconds adrift. The two drivers made different calls with regards to tyres, with the Brit taking a Medium-Medium-Hard approach, but the German went Medium-Hard-Medium that resulted in Rosberg closing up to Hamilton over the final stint.
“It’s fantastic to get my first win here after eight attempts and it’s really difficult to put that feeling into words,” said Hamilton. “In all my career, I’ve never before had a car or a performance gap like this. Nico drove a fantastic race and I struggled to keep him behind, but I just managed it at the end.
“I had the same problems with the car this afternoon that I found yesterday in qualifying: I couldn’t attack the corners properly because of snap oversteer and that’s where Nico was catching me. I’m just so proud of this team: we are looking very strong and I’m enjoying every moment and every step of the way.
“There’s still a long way to go this season, though, so we are staying humble, getting our heads down and working hard. I still have a bit more time to find from the car because it’s very, very close with Nico, so I have to keep working on that. But it’s a great feeling to be leading the championship.”
Nico Rosberg saw the lead in the championship switch from him to his team-mate as he trailed Hamilton home by less than a second after attempting the different strategy, but he will know that he will have to start winning again to have any hope of beating Lewis in the championship, and he has pinpointed his starts as a weakness after struggling off the line in Spain.
“The race was so close at the end today and with one more lap, I could have tried to overtake Lewis for the first time,” said Rosberg. “My start was bad. It is a weakness that we have and we will try to improve. Once it was clear that I was in second place, we chose to go with the slower strategy using the prime tyres in the middle stint to get a shot at Lewis at the end when I was on the options. It was very close but not quite close enough so naturally I’m disappointed but I can take a lot of positives from this weekend.
“We have an amazing car and my pace was really strong here so I just need to find an extra little edge to capitalise on. The next race is Monaco, which is not only my home race but has some great memories from my victory there last year.”
Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff was delighted to see his team make it five wins in five races, and was especially happy to see his two drivers fighting up front, something he expects to see throughout 2014.
“That was a fantastic afternoon of sport,” said Wolff. “We have two incredible drivers who are capable of fighting until the last corner of the last lap to achieve success. That was the case again today and they were incredibly closely matched in spite of running different strategies in the race. Their battle is so intense and so close that I am sure it will carry on all the way to the final race.”