Hamilton takes championship lead with victory

Hamilton takes championship lead with victory

11 May 2014 – Lewis Hamilton moved into the lead of the Formula 1 title race with a hard-fought victory in Sunday afternoon's Spanish Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver narrowly led home team-mate Nico Rosberg at the end of another thrilling battle, while Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo took his maiden podium finish in the top echelon.

Hamilton made a faultless getaway as the lights went out, while Rosberg did well to keep a rampant Valtteri Bottas at bay into the first corner.

As the order settled, the Silver Arrows cars stormed clear at the front, the pair building up a gap of more than a pit-stop in the opening stint.

As had been the case at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Mercedes duo split their strategies at the first round of stops, with Hamilton pitting earlier for fresh Mediums and Rosberg making the switch to the Hard compound.

For the final stint of the 66-lap encounter, Rosberg found himself attacking on the softer rubber, but despite cutting the gap and applying pressure, Hamilton could not be stopped from taking a fourth successive victory.

The result puts Hamilton ahead in the standings for the first time this season, three points clear of Rosberg.

After Hamilton and Rosberg crossed the line to notch up Mercedes's fourth perfect finish of the 2014 campaign, it took more than three quarters of a minute for Ricciardo to filter through and complete the podium positions.

Having suffered disqualification at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, failed to finish in Malaysia and taken fourth-place finishes in Bahrain and China, it was an overdue result for the Red Bull driver.

Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel pulled off a selection of sublime passes to rise from 15th on the grid to fourth and back up team-mate Ricciardo, disposing of Williams driver Bottas in the closing stages.

Ferrari duo Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso had to settle for sixth and seventh at the chequered flag, the latter ultimately getting the better of his team-mate with a handful of laps to run after multiple failed attempts.

After four dismal flyaway races, Romain Grosjean gave Lotus its first points of the season in eighth, while Force India drivers Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg salvaged a double score from a challenging weekend.

McLaren's dismal spell continued, with Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen 11th and 12th on pure pace.

For Williams driver Felipe Massa, a three-stop plan backfired and saw him finish in a lowly 13th place.

The race saw just two retirements, with Toro Rosso's Jean-Éric Vergne – who had started at the back due to a 10-place grid penalty – hitting exhaust trouble and Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi suffering a brake failure.

The sixth round of the 2014 Formula 1 season takes place in Monaco on the weekend of May 24-25

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