Rosberg finally wins, takes Spanish Grand Prix
GRANOLLERS, Spain (AP) – Nico Rosberg finally got his championship campaign going on Sunday with a commanding win from pole position in motorsport’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Now the German hopes he can gain further ground on Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at his favourite Monaco track in two weeks.
Rosberg beat Hamilton for the first time this season, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel placing third.
The morale-boosting win was Rosberg’s first since the Brazilian GP – the penultimate race of the last season – which the German driver also won from pole. It also gives him a sense of momentum heading into Monaco, where Rosberg, the son of former world champion Keke Rosberg, grew up. He won the showcase race from pole last year, and then went on to win in Austria and Germany.
A third straight win at Monaco would dent Hamilton’s 20-point lead.
“I was able to control the pace and I never felt in danger throughout the whole race,” Rosberg said. “It’s still early days in the season so it’s good to close the gap to Lewis. I will continue to push hard, starting with a home race for me in Monaco.”
Hamilton, the defending F1 champion, has won three of five races this season, with Vettel taking the Malaysian GP in March.
“I had a good start, getting past Lewis,” Vettel said. “But unfortunately Mercedes were just too quick.”
McLaren’s poor season continued as two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso retired just short of halfway with faulty brakes – on the same track where he last won a race two years ago with Ferrari.
Hamilton has finished in the top two for 12 straight races since retiring at last season’s Belgium GP in August. Dominant Mercedes has finished 1-2 in three of five races this campaign.
As Rosberg milked the applause after the race, Hamilton walked up to him, patted him on the back and then shook his hand firmly.