Barcelona: A delighted, but dignified, Lewis Hamilton thanked his Mercedes engineers yesterday after holding off teammate Nico Rosberg to win a thrilling Spanish Grand Prix and take over as leader of the drivers' world championship.
Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium. Pic/Getty Images
After winning by just a few car lengths, or 0.6ec, at the Circuit de Catalunya, Hamilton said Rosberg had been the faster driver, but he had won thanks to advice from his race team in the closing stages of a dramatic race.
"A big thank you for my team," he said, as he sat on the podium afterwards. "They have done an incredible job this year and the support here (in Spain) is the best I have ever had and my first win in Spain means everything to me."
'Nico was quicker'
Asked about his frequent questions for his race team, he said: "I was not upset, but I was not fast enough today. Nico was quicker. I struggled with the balance and needed to rely on my engineers.
"I was moving my settings up and down and fortunately I was able to keep Nico behind." In a heart-stopping conclusion to an intriguing 66-laps race, Hamilton resisted the pressure from Rosberg to finish just 0.6sec ahead.
His victory lifted him to 100 points for the season and into the lead of the title race ahead of Rosberg, on 97.
Vettel finishes fourth
Australian Daniel Ricciardo came home third for Red Bull ahead of his teammate defending four time world champion German Sebastian Vettel, who had started from 15th on the grid.
For Ricciardo it was a moment of special satisfaction to claim his first Formula One podium, having done so in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix before being disqualified for a fuel irregularity.
Rosberg, after finishing second behind Hamilton for the fourth consecutive time, said he felt he needed just one more lap to make a passing move on his teammate.
"I think one more lap and I could have given it a good go!" he said. "Unfortunately that was it and I am a bit gutted, but still, second place, second in the championship and many more races to go... I will go to Monaco to go one better and try and repeat the win from last year."
It was Hamilton's fourth win this year, his first in Spain and the 26th of his career while Mercedes one-two stamped their complete supremacy on the constructors' championship which they now lead by more than 100 points.
Finn Valtteri Bottas finished fifth for the resurgent Williams team ahead of local hero and Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Frenchman Romain Grosjean was eighth for Lotus.
The difference between Lewis Hamilton and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel yesterday
The number of points that seperate Hamilton and Vettel after five races
Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg finished ninth and 10th, respectively, at the Spanish GP. Mexican Perez earned two points while his teammate got the last point from the fifth race of the season with the team getting three points in total. The team, currently on 57 points, dropped a place to fourth in the constructors' standings.