Nico Rosberg has ended his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s winning streak in this year’s Formula One drivers’ world championship by driving to a near-flawless victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.
The 29-year-old German, who had been beaten by Hamilton in all four of this year’s ‘flyaway’ season-opening races, led from the 16th pole position of his career all the way to the chequered flag on Sunday, his supremacy interrupted only by his pit-stops.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull came in seventh.
It was Rosberg’s first win since last November’s Brazilian Grand Prix and the ninth of his career, and trimmed defending champion Hamilton’s lead from 27 points to 20.
Nico Rosberg celebrates after winning the Formula One Spanish GP.
Hamilton, who slipped from second to third at the start, fought back with daring and great skill, coupled to a three-stop strategy, to finish behind Rosberg and deliver another one-two for the dominant Mercedes team.
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany, who outpaced Hamilton off the grid, came home third for Ferrari ahead of Finns Valtteri Bottas of Williams and Kimi Raikkonen, in the second Ferrari.
Brazilian Felipe Massa was sixth in the second Williams ahead of Ricciardo and Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus.
Local hero Carlos Sainz won a late wheel-to-wheel battle with his Toro Rosso team-mate, Dutch teenager Jos Verstappen, to take 10th and then ‘stole’ ninth from Russian Daniil Kvyat in the second Red Bull. Kvyat finished 10th.
It was another day of disappointment for the struggling McLaren Honda team who extended their pointless start to the season. Spaniard Fernando Alonso retired after a brakes failure saw him narrowly avoid colliding with his own pit crew and Briton Jenson Button finished 16th.