It 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.
Spain winners and losers
For 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
|2014 Monaco Grand Prix||Jules Bianchi||60.2%|
|2013 Monaco Grand Prix||Nico Rosberg||54.3%|
|2012 Monaco Grand Prix||Mark Webber||32.7%|
|2011 Monaco Grand Prix||Jenson Button||33.1%|
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.