2015 Spanish Grand Prix Recap: Don’t Count Rosberg Out
The Spanish Grand Prix is always an important one. It’s the first European race on the calendar and a favorite among teams as a testing ground. It pushes the cars to the limit in a number of ways that other tracks don’t and it’s the race to which many teams bring their first set of upgrades, making it a good time to reassess how everyone is doing in the championship.
What it told us is that the championship is far from over.
Mercedes still had an edge over Ferrari, but for the first time this year, Rosberg edged out Hamilton in every way. At a time when people were already ruling him out of contention for the title, he secured pole by more than a quarter of a second and won the race without ever coming under threat from last year’s champion.
That being said, he did get a heap of help from Vettel, who managed to slot himself into 2nd as soon as the lights went out and made it impossible for Hamilton to pass, until the latter switched up his tire strategy.
Räikkönen’s issues in qualifying had left him starting only 7th behind the two Torro Rossos, but he quickly dispatched them and spent the rest of the race working to close in on 4th place, held by Bottas. He caught up to his fellow Finn with eight laps to go but the turbulent air coming from his opponent’s car prevented him from ever getting quite close enough to make a move. 6th place went to Massa, who had no real trouble getting his car there after starting three places down.
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McLaren was once again the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. Button struggled with erratic handling all throughout the race and finished a paltry 16th, while Alonso had to retire in front of his home crowd after nearly crashing into a member of his pit crew when his brakes failed.
Fortunately, rookie Spanish driver Sainz was there to give the crowd something to cheer about. He pushed hard to claim 9th and two points on his home ground, including a controversial last-lap overtake on Kvyat.
Grosjean was another driver to do what Alonso couldn’t when he missed his brake mark in the pits and sent his front jack man flying; the latter tore an ankle ligament but held on like a champ. The French driver still managed to finish 8th, but at the cost of his teammate’s race. Maldonado had been on an early charge to 7th when a seemingly minor brush with Grosjean ultimately caused part of his rear wing to come off and led to his retirement.
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All of the other teams seemed uncharacteristically out of shape. Sauber and Force India both lacked downforce and grip, and all four of their drivers failed to grab points. Even the brilliant Ricciardo himself struggled to look good in the Red Bull, though he did score 7th place for his team after a winning a duel with Grosjean. Both the Marussias made it to the finish line but only really ever appeared on screen when being lapped.
In summary, it still looks as though Ferrari is the only team who can challenge Mercedes, but only through strategy or by getting ahead early and using turbulent air to prevent overtakes. It’ll also be interesting to see if Rosberg can use his win to create momentum and start stealing points back from Hamilton. The timing is perfect for it as next race will take place in Monaco, which Rosberg won the last two years and calls his hometown. I’ll see you then for the next recap!
Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.