Mercedes driver racks up his first win of the season at the Circuit de Catalunya
Montmelo: Nico Rosberg stormed to his first victory of the season as he pulled off the “complete weekend” he had targeted to win the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
The Mercedes driver had been unable to live with the form of teammate and reigning champion Lewis Hamilton until yesterday’s race at the Circuit de Catalunya, but a strong showing and a better strategy gave him fresh impetus in the championship battle.
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg celebrates on the podium after winning the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, near Barcelona yesterday. PIC/AFP
Hamilton made a poor start and also suffered a delay during his first pit-stop but still maintained a record of finishing in the top two in the last 12 grands prix as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took third.
As is often the way in Barcelona, the pole sitter ended up taking the chequered flag as Rosberg became the 19th driver to convert pole into a race victory in the 25 grands prix held here. He was also the ninth successive different winner of the Spanish GP and closed the gap to championship leader Hamilton to 20 points heading into Monaco, having declared earlier in the week he was ready to put everything together for the first time this year.
He took the flag a full 17.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton and was pleased to put everything together.
“It was a perfect weekend,” Rosberg said.
“Being on pole and winning the race. Finally I got the great start that I needed and I’m very happy. It has been a while coming. I’m just enjoying the day today, winning here was great so I will enjoy that together with the team and then look forward to the next race.”
Valtteri Bottas took fourth place, holding off a late push from Kimi Raikkonen with Bottas’ teammate Felipe Massa sixth.
Madrid: Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova romped to the Madrid Open title on Saturday with a crushing 6-1, 6-2 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Czech ended Serena Williams’ 27-match winning streak in the semi-finals and was far too good for Kuznetsova, who looked heavy-legged after spending more than 11 hours on court to reach the final. The World No 4 only recently returned to action after a six-week break.