BRITAIN’S Lewis Hamilton stormed to the top of the Formula One drivers’ championship by winning his fourth straight race yesterday, but insists that he “struggled” with his Mercedes and can still get more from the car.
Hamilton held off a late challenge from team-mate Nico Rosberg to win the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, with Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull coming in third, around 49 seconds behind the Mercedes pair. The German team have had a car leading from the front of every single lap so far during the 2014 season.
“I think I have a bit of work to do over the next few weeks. We struggled last year in Monaco and struggled at this race,” Hamilton said.
“I have to find out where I am losing the time and apply it to the next race. By no means is it easy for me, I still have a massive challenge from Nico.
“When you are under pressure, and you do not snap under pressure, that is when you know you have your stuff together. Pressure motivates me.”
Rosberg closed in to within a second of Hamilton on the penultimate lap, yet could not find a way past his rival. It was the second time this year that the Brit has survived a late challenge from his German colleague, having also passed the chequered flag in Bahrain just one second ahead of Rosberg.
The victory was Hamilton’s 26th of his F1 career, moving him above 1960s champion Jim Clark and current Mercedes employee Niki Lauda in the list of all-time most prolific grands prix winners.
With Mercedes dominating the sport following this year’s regulatory changes, Hamilton poured praise on the team he joined at the end of 2012 from McLaren.
“The support here is the best I’ve ever had,” he said. “Already from last year it has been the happiest I have been but I am definitely at my happiest point.”
The 29-year-old started the race on pole for the fourth time this season and never surrendered the lead. Further back, reigning champion Sebastian Vettel moved up from 15th on the grid to finish just one place off Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo.
Williams’ Valtteri Bottas came fifth, ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. It is now over a year since Alonso or Ferrari have won a grand prix.
TIMES AND STANDINGS
Spanish Grand Prix result
1. L Hamilton (Mercedes) 1h: 41m: 05s
2. N Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:41:06
3. D Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:41:54
4. S Vettel (Red Bull) 1:42:22
5. V Bottas (Williams) 1:42:25
6. F Alonso (Ferrari) 1:42:33
1. L Hamilton (Mercedes) 100 points
2. N Rosberg (Mercedes) 97 pts
3. F Alonso (Ferrari) 49 pts
4. S Vettel (Red Bull) 45 pts
5. D Ricciardo (Red Bull) 39 pts
1. Mercedes (own engine) 197 points
2. Red Bull (Renault engine) 84 pts
3. Ferrari (own engine) 66 pts