No Pain in Spain for Rosberg
The sun shined down last week on Catalunya as two teams were set to battle it out at the Barcelona Grand Prix 2015. Mercedes, ahead in the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, were looking to maintain their healthy lead over their closest rivals, while Ferrari, winners of the previous race, were gunning from behind, Vettel and Raikkonen ready and waiting to topple the German team from their gilded throne.
Thus far, Mercedes have looked to outclass every other team in the competition by a long way. The sheer speed and power of their engines is something to be reckoned with, and with two world-championship-winning drivers on their roster, they looked to be unbeatable until the last race, when Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel managed to squeeze himself into first place and take some points away from the Silver Arrows.
This week, all eyes were on Vettel once more as he was the new hope that somehow, some way, Mercedes’ total domination could be ended.
Are Ferrari Falling Behind?
Unfortunately, in Barcelona, it was not to be. Vettel and Raikkonen could do nothing but watch fruitlessly as Rosberg and Hamilton vanished into the sunset ahead of them. Ferrari’s cars are simply not as powerful and the drivers were unable to capitalise on tyre management techniques as they have done before to take places. It was, once again, an all-Mercedes show.
Rosberg, in fact, has been playing second fiddle to his teammate so far this season, but managed to pull it back in this race – he outclassed Hamilton in qualifying, and from there pulled off cleanly at the start and led a comfortable distance the entire race. Hamilton had a great fightback to come in second, but was unable to challenge Nico for first place.
This has a special significance, as even though Mercedes as a unit have been exceptionally strong, it has, up until now, been a result of Hamilton winning and Rosberg taking second place. After the epic conclusion to last year’s title race in Abu Dhabi when Hamilton took the victory after Rosberg experienced severe engine problems, the German came in this season looking for revenge on his rival.
Until this point, he had not had an opportunity to shine, but in Barcelona he led a fantastic race and took a well-deserved win, which could be the start of a new confidence boost and the beginning of momentum for Rosberg.
The Tension is Building
Hamilton had an uncontested season to begin with, but slowly now, first Vettel and then Rosberg have taken victory from under his nose. The Briton will need to step up his game as it appears his competition is a lot closer than he thought, and ready to snatch away the crown he believes should be his.
Though Ferrari are not looking as threatening as they did a few weeks ago, that could change, and Nico is all too willing to step up the minute Hamilton takes his eyes off the prize.
The other top teams have only gone from bad to worse. Red Bull’s engine situation has degraded from frustrating, to ridiculous, to just embarrassing. The Renault power units are failing at every turn and the four-time constructors’ championship winners look to be having a dismal season all the way through 2015. McLaren, if possible, are even worse – despite having two drivers’ champions in their roster, they have failed to make any impact at all so far.
Alonso had to retire here in Barcelona, at his home race, and Jensen Button commented that he felt frightened driving his car, saying he was never confident that he would be able to make it round the next bend.
It looks like there can only be one winner for the constructors’ championship this year – hopefully next season, the rest of the teams will be able to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and come back with bigger, better and faster engines to take on the Germans.
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