Hamilton claims fourth win in a row

Lewis Hamilton takes the world championship lead from Nico Rosberg with a narrow victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Hamilton's 26th career victory means he leads the standings for the first time since 2012 [AFP]
    Hamilton's 26th career victory means he leads the standings for the first time since 2012 [AFP]

    Lewis Hamilton wins the Spanish Grand Prix for Mercedes to chalk up his fourth victory in a row and wrest the Formula One championship lead from German team mate Nico Rosberg.

    In what was also the fourth successive Mercedes one-two, and fifth win in five races for the dominant constructor, Hamilton took the chequered flag a mere 0.6 of a second ahead of his rival.

    FIA Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship
              Driver            Points
    1  Lewis Hamilton       100
    2  Nico Rosberg           97
    3  Fernando Alonso      49
    4  Sebastian Vettel       45
    5  Daniel Ricciardo        39

    In a nail-biting finish to what had been a largely uneventful race, Rosberg piled pressure on Hamilton by slashing the Briton's lead over the last six laps and looming ominously in his mirrors.

    Hamilton, who now has 100 points to Rosberg's 97 after his 26th career victory, sounded increasingly anxious in radio traffic but held on for his first win in Spain.

    "I wasn't fast enough really today, Nico was quicker," the 2008 champion said during the podium interview. "Fortunately I was able to keep him behind."

    Rosberg, who declared himself 'a bit gutted' to finish second again and whose subdued body language alongside Hamilton on the podium more than backed that up, felt he would have got past with one more lap.

    "Lewis did a great job the whole weekend, just that little bit ahead," added the German ruefully.

    Daniel Ricciardo was third for champions Red Bull in the first podium finish of his F1 career after being stripped of his second-place for a fuel irregularity in his home season-opener in Melbourne in March.

    Vettel's form improving

    Quadruple world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel, who started 15th after a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, ended a weekend of setbacks with a strong fourth place.

    The 26-year-old German had arrived at the first European race of the season with a different chassis to the previous four grands prix, in which he had made just one podium appearance, but Red Bull remained an age away from Mercedes.

    Ricciardo, as the best of the rest, crossed the line a massive 48.3 seconds behind Rosberg with Mercedes again in a class of their own and lapping all but four cars.

    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was one of those passed by Hamilton, finishing seventh and just behind Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso - last year's winner - in sixth.

    Finland's Valtteri Bottas took fifth place for Williams, while Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa sank from ninth at the start to 13th at the finish.

    Frenchman Romain Grosjean handed Lotus their first points of the season with eighth place, ahead of Force India's Mexican Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg in ninth and 10th respectively.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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