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Spain analysis - Hamilton scales new heights

12 May 2014

The build-up to Barcelona had been about whether new updates would allow the field to catch up to Mercedes, but the Silver Arrows' authority in the race was beyond question. It therefore came down to Lewis Hamilton versus Nico Rosberg, and after a thrilling conclusion it was again the Briton who gained the ascendancy, moving into the championship lead for the first time in the process. We take a team-by-team look back on Sunday's race in Barcelona...

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, P1

Nico Rosberg, P2

Yet again the Mercedes were in a class of their own, and the only problem the drivers had was each other - that, and the curious fact that the hard Pirellis grained more in the race than the softer mediums. Once again the team let their drivers race and they put on a superb performance which made the race a slow-burning humdinger whose result was in doubt until the final corners of the last of the 66 laps. After all the talk of everyone bringing updates to get them on terms with the Silver Arrows, the fact that Red Bull's best runner was 49s behind and Ferrari's 87.7s was some very indigestible food for thought.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, P3

Sebastian Vettel, P4

Third and fourth places were a fillip for Red Bull, whose race pace made them best of the rest after the Mercedes. Ricciardo lost out to Bottas at the start, but then jumped him at the first stop and thereafter had a lonely run to his first bona fide podium after a strong drive. Vettel made the most of his usual feisty race performance, allied to some finely judged three-stop strategizing which revolved around a stop as early as lap 12 which put him into clean air after he got bogged down in traffic at the start. They weren't as dominant as they once were, but by 2014 standards a 27-point haul was good news.

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, P5

Felipe Massa, P13

Williams were very happy with Bottas's fine drive to fifth place, but you couldn't help thinking they deserved more after the Finn's opening run in third place. He lost a position to Ricciardo in the first pit stops, and then couldn't hold back three-stopping Vettel on his fresher rubber at the end. Nevertheless, fifth was a solid result and helped move Williams ahead of McLaren in the constructors' championship. Massa went for a three-stopper but got bottled up early on and was thereafter on the back foot and, having got mired in the lower midfield, was unable to better 13th.

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso, P6

Kimi Raikkonen, P7

Once again the F14 T lacked pace and Ferrari switched Alonso to a three-stop strategy in an attempt to contain Vettel, but Alonso lost a place to him during the final pits stops. The Spaniard said he had no chance of overtaking team mate Raikkonen while they were running on the same tyres, but the strategy switch got the Spaniard ahead. Raikkonen blamed his two-stop strategy for his inability to defend against Alonso in the closing stages. Ferrari did overtake Force India for third in the constructors' standings, but there wasn't a great deal of consolation in that given that Raikkonen was lapped and Alonso finished 87.7s behind Hamilton's winning Mercedes.

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, P8

Pastor Maldonado, P15

Grosjean really tried his hardest for Lotus and for a while ran strongly ahead of the Ferraris until his brakes began to struggle. He was less than delighted with the performance of Renault's engine, but nevertheless managed to score the team's first points of their difficult season. Maldonado, already hampered by starting from the back of the grid following his qualifying crash, drove into Ericsson's Caterham early on and lost ground with a five-second stop-and-go penalty before finishing a distant 15th.

Force India

Sergio Perez, P9

Nico Hulkenberg, P10

While Perez had a relatively easy time with tyre degradation on a track on which the team struggled, Hulkenberg said his tyre wear was high. They swapped places when the Mexican overtook on the 51st lap, and they kept up the team's record of scoring points in every race this season. Force India fell to fourth in the constructors' race behind Ferrari, but it wasn't a bad day's damage limitation work.

McLaren

Jenson Button, P11

Kevin Magnussen, P12

Ultimately the McLarens once again lacked the sheer pace to challenge for points, even though Button and Magnussen both fought strongly throughout the race and at times looked like doing so.

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat, P14

Jean-Eric Vergne, retired lap 25, exhaust

Kvyat did everything he could to score points, but the STR9 simply didn't have the pace to enable him to challenge successfully. Vergne's race was again compromised by mechanical problems, this time in the form of a broken exhaust. Small wonder he talked of being “persecuted by bad luck” at the moment.

Sauber

Esteban Gutierrez, P16

Adrian Sutil, P17

This was another gruelling race for Sauber, with neither car showing competitive pace despite heavy revisions aimed at reducing the car's weight, and a significant aerodynamic update.

Marussia

Jules Bianchi, P18

Max Chilton, P19

Chilton won the qualifying duel after Bianchi's mistake in Turn 10, but in the race it was Bianchi all the way as the Englishman had to fight back from a poor start. The Frenchman was 40s ahead by the finish.

Caterham

Marcus Ericsson, P20

Kamui Kobayashi, retired lap 35, brakes

Maldonado attacked Ericsson's car with an unruly move early in the race, which didn't do much to enhance the Swede's meagre chances of beating the Marussias, while Kobayashi's hard fight to do the same thing ended dramatically in Turn 1 on the 35th lap with his second brake failure of the season.