Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Solid Spain win earns Rosberg Driver of the Weekend

2015 Spanish Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015It took until the penultimate race of last season for Nico Rosberg to win an F1 Fanatic Driver of the Weekend poll – but he’s started a lot earlier this year.

Rosberg went into the fifth race of the year in Spain very much on the back foot. Team mate Lewis Hamilton had beaten him in every qualifying session and every race up to that point.

Rosberg put that right with pole position and a run to victory which was as straightforward as any you’re likely to see. Almost 60% of F1 Fanatic readers named him their Driver of the Weekend.

Nico Rosberg’s Spanish Grand Prix weekend

Picking up a reprimand for passing the pit lane entry bollard on the wrong side during practice was pretty much the only time Rosberg put a wheel wrong all weekend in Spain.

While Hamilton spun in practice, Rosberg’s serene progress towards a well-earned victory will have given his team mate pause for thought – especially as F1 now heads to a track where Rosberg won the last two years in a row.

Took pole in qualifying, got a good start and kept the lead till the end, beating his team mate fair and square. He even helped his team mate to gain a position. Performed when it was most needed. A ten-out-of-ten performance by Rosberg

He managed to get pole position not only by putting in the fastest lap (duh), but his second fastest attempt was still better than anyone else’s. He more or less sealed the deal with a mighty start that put him out of Hamilton’s and Vettel’s reach.

From then on, he simply managed the pace, conserving a lead of seven seconds, then speeding up by one to two seconds per lap when the pit stops approached, proving that he was in control of everything. This approach allowed him to get home with only two stops, and even though Mercedes slowed him down a bit to help Hamilton against Vettel, his advantage was large enough for him to cruise home.

Hamilton may have thought he had a chance, but in reality, he would’ve needed an average lap time of 1’28,525 to catch Rosberg (assuming the latter would not have been able to react in any way), marginally slower than the single fastest lap he set at the very beginning of his final stint and faster than every single one of his laps, except for the first and second lap of the stint. So the maths is clear: Mercedes didn’t ‘make things difficult’ for Hamilton, but actually told the truth when they said there was no way he could’ve caught Rosberg.

Just when everyone was about ready to write him off, he out-performed a double world champion entirely on merit. Nailed two pole-worthy laps, drove flawlessly.
Philip (@Philipgb)

Spain winners and losers

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015For the second race in a row Valtteri Bottas split the two Ferrari drivers to take fourth place. But there were three other drivers who earned praise from F1 Fanatic readers after Spain:

Disagree with the majority who voted for Rosberg and Bottas. while they did great, Rosberg only had to beat one guy in qualifying and as soon as he did a good start his race was effectively cruise control. As for Bottas, he only ended up where he did because Raikkonen screwed up in Q3 as usual unfortunately these days. Yes he did great versus Massa and did all that he needed to do against Raikkonen, but there were two drivers with better performances in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz Jnr gets about 10% of the hype of his team-mate completely unfairly. Perfect lap in qualifying, didn’t let his head fall down early in the race while being overtaken by pretty much everyone and their dogs, good tyre management and aggressive overtakes late in the race. However, he doesn’t get my vote because his start was poor.

Romain Grosjean: perfect performance. Got the maximum in qualifying, made a good start, despite a clash with his team mate which was a racing incident kept his head down and got the absolute maximum placing possible. this, without fourth gear for over half the race. His overtake on Kvyat round the outside of turn one was the best in the race in my opinion.

I think Daniel Ricciardo did a mega job considering that he had next to no time on track on Friday, then still managed to qualify in top ten and even improve on his position to ninth. Then factor in the fact that he beat his teammate who had far more running than he did, this is really a great effort, for very little reward.

Next race: Monaco

Rosberg has already been voted Driver of the Weekend once before at the next round of the championship in Monaco, when he scored his first win there in 2013. But although Rosberg repeated his victory last year that poll was won by Jules Bianchi who scored Marussia’s first points.

2015 Spanish Grand Prix

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    22 comments on “Solid Spain win earns Rosberg Driver of the Weekend”

    1. Seems fair enough, he did not put a foot wrong in Spain.

      Let’s hope he behaves in Monaco……..;)

    2. After T1 it was his race to lose.

      1. Hamilton would have won had they not pitted him a 3rd time. Mercedes had no problem pitting Rosberg before Hamilton at China and Bahrain to “cover” Vettel. Mercedes should have left Lewis out and seen if Rosberg could pass him on track with much fresher tires

        1. What you don’t realize is that they had already left Rosberg on track longer than they should have so that Hamilton could have returned ahead of Vettel to the race. They did the same thing in China and Bahrain, but this time it was Hamilton who was behind. Man, you are just misinterpreting because of your bias against Rosberg.

        2. Merc kept Rosberg 1 lap longer than optimal and gave the pit to Hamilton to jump Vettel. If they had pit him on his target lap he would have come ahead of Vettel and Lewis. Merc acted completely fairly for both drivers.

        3. Incorrect! If Hamilton had stayed out he would probably ended up third or fourth. His tyres were degrading, so he would have to reduce speed (or risk running off the track), which meant those behind would have gained on him.

    3. Thanks for the quote @keithcollantine I just spotted a typo, Monaco hasn’t even begun yet, but its all you’re thinking about ;)

      who earned praise from F1 Fanatic readers after Monaco:

    4. That 2011 DotW weekend win by Button is something I will never understand. A driver who started 2nd, finished 3rd with the fastest car that weekend and had safety cars helping him throughout the race (except for the final SC red flag situation) somehow still won more votes than others.

      1. LOL It must be desperation not to give Vettel DotW by accident or something…

        1. Yep. Even Alonso and Maldonado deserved it ahead of him. Although to be fair, he might’ve come second if McLaren didn’t put him on a 3-stopper.

    5. I thought Roberg was really solid this weekend and deserves DOTW.

      Surprisingly, no mention of Alonso’s performance that weekend. He got the Mclaren to it’s best quali position of the season so far, and was running as high as 7th in that absolute disaster of car. He would have actually finished in the points had he not had the brake duct problem.

      I thought it was #1 Rosberg, #2 Alonso, #3 Bottas

      1. I don’t disagree with you, and also dedicated a thought or two to Alonso’s performance. But in the end, several factors have probably played a role for many in denying Alonso a special mention:
        – the fact that he was running in 7th position was due to a very late first pit stop. Before the pit stops began, he was stuck in P12. After his pit stop, he was in P14, having lost ground to Hülkenberg and Nasr. Hülkenberg made 3 stops that day, so he wasn’t a threat. But Nasr and virtually everyone else within reach was on the same strategy as Alonso. He would’ve needed to overtake a few cars to make it count. Was that really going to happen? I’m not quite sure of that.
        – we can’t really tell if Alonso was putting in one of his famous over-achievements, or if he was simply transforming the car’s pace into its deserved track position. There obviously was something very wrong with Button’s car, so we couldn’t compare the two of them.
        – the pit stop incident with the failing brakes cast some shadow over his race. Even if one doesn’t think he was to blame for it, it’s hard to shake the feeling that he could’ve seen it coming and should’ve slowed down a bit more to avoid risking his pit crew’s lives.

        All in all, there were no reliable indicators that Alonso was really performing outstandingly, and the pit stop incident, that lead to a very early retirement, also made it difficult to feel real enthusiasm for his race.
        He might have collected some Karma points that could lead to more favorable ratings in future races, though.

      2. I don’t think Alonso’s Spain performance was outstanding, but I do think his Bahrain performance was one – check out his race chart, he executed a strategy millimeter-perfect and he had to do so, because that was the only way for him to get ahead of the Sauber. And then, and here comes the usual ‘Alonso is overachieving’ caveat, he surprisingly held the Sauber at arms’ length for the remainder of the last stint, a car which had – at that time – much much higher striaghtline speed then his McLaren-Honda. Now, THAT was an outstanding race by him, I think, and it went even more unnoticed then his Barcelona weekend.

        1. he surprisingly held the Sauber at arms’ length for the remainder of the last stint, a car which had – at that time – much much higher striaghtline speed then his McLaren-Honda.

          No so surprisingly. We’ve seen this happening regularly this season already … even if the car behind is faster, it can’t get past the car ahead due to aero/tyre reasons. See Vettel in Bahrain and Hamilton and Raikkonen in Spain for some other recent high profile examples.

          1. “Not so surprisingly”

    6. I had a thought and wasn’t quite sure where to write it so, as it was Catalunya related, I’ve included it here. If Maldonado had finished the race (accidents do happen) would his car have been deemed underweight?

      1. LOL That’s a very interesting question! How much more than the limit they’ve got on board anyway?

      2. @petea:
        Yes, probably. I’ll quote the relevant article of the 2015 Sporting Regulations:

        ARTICLE 4 : WEIGHT
        4.1 Minimum weight :
        The weight of the car, without fuel, must not be less than 702kg at all times during the Event.
        If, when required for checking, a car is not already fitted with dry-weather tyres, it will be weighed on a set of dry-weather tyres selected by the FIA technical delegate.
        4.2 Weight distribution :
        The weight applied on the front and rear wheels must not be less than 319kg and 376kg respectively at all times during the qualifying practice session.
        If, when required for checking, a car is not already fitted with dry-weather tyres, it will be weighed on a set of dry-weather tyres selected by the FIA technical delegate.
        4.3 Weight of tyres :
        The weight limits specified in Articles 4.1 and 4.2 will be adjusted up or down according to any differences (rounded up to the nearest 1kg) between the total set and individual axle set weights respectively of the 2014 and 2015 dry-weather tyres.
        4.4 Ballast :
        Ballast can be used provided it is secured in such a way that tools are required for its removal. It must be possible to fix seals if deemed necessary by the FIA technical delegate.
        4.5 Adding during the race :
        With the exception of compressed gases, no substance may be added to the car during the race. If it becomes necessary to replace any part of the car during the race, the new part must not weigh any more than the original part.

        There is no mention of exceptional circumstances, only 4.5 stating that you can’t replace parts with heavier parts, perhaps implying that you’d be expected to replace a missing part during the race if the car were underweight without it

    7. For the second consecutive time Bottas managed to keep a faster Ferrari with DRS behind for a tons of laps. Future World Champ?

      It’ll be hard for him to win at a customer team like Williams though, either Williams find itself an engine manufacturer or Bottas must find a works team.

    8. Thanks @keithcollantine for the quote.
      Rosberg really needed that win, to boost his confidence and his title hopes. Hopefully he can do it again and stop Hamilton from running away with it

    9. I can’t see the votes – who got 2nd, 3rd, etc?

      1. The format’s been changed for this year and doesn’t include the top three any more. The change is because the way it was before led people to view the results as a ranking, which they aren’t.

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