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Winners and Losers - Spain

11 May 2015

Nico Rosberg took a vital first win of 2015 at Barcelona, but his and Mercedes' elation was in stark contrast to Ferrari, who had hoped to make a massive jump forward at the Spanish circuit. McLaren too suffered, while Pastor Maldonado once again lamented a rather unusual piece of bad luck that consigned him to a fourth retirement in five races. We take a look at the highs and lows of the weekend...

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, P1
Lewis Hamilton, P2

This one was Rosberg's all the way from FP3 to the chequered flag. He made a great start and was never challenged as he ran at the pace he chose, and he closed the points gap to Hamilton as a result. 

The Briton had a slow start due to clutch problems, lost second place to Vettel (and very nearly third to Bottas) and spent the rest of the afternoon fighting back after Mercedes had switched him from a two- to a three-stop strategy. Despite all that, however, Mercedes were happy to score another 43-point maximum and to have stretched their advantage over their closest rivals, despite everybody bringing serious updates to this first European race of the season.

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, P3
Kimi Raikkonen, P5

Ferrari came here hoping for so much more than third and fifth, but by the flag the heavily revised SF15-T in Vettel's hands was 45s behind Rosberg's updated Mercedes. The German put a brave face on things, but it was a major blow to Ferrari. Raikkonen raced his SF15-T in the old configuration, but couldn't find a way past Bottas and had to settle for fifth.

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, P4
Felipe Massa, P6

Williams were happy to fight with Ferrari, albeit with Raikkonen's old-spec SF15-T. Bottas did a great job to keep Raikkonen at bay and to finish fourth for the second race in a row, while Massa battled up from ninth to sixth with a three-stop run.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, P7
Daniil Kvyat, P10

Red Bull simply lacked pace, but Ricciardo said he was pleased to maximise the result as seventh was the best they could have hoped for. Kvyat wasn't happy to lose ninth to Sainz after a clash in Turn 1 on the final lap, but the stewards agreed that no further action was required.

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, P8
Pastor Maldonado, retired lap 45, damaged bodywork

Things could have been so good for Lotus. Maldonado was on an early charge to seventh, but unfortunately this included a seemingly-minor brush with Grosjean that damaged the Venezuelan's rear wing and ultimately led to his retirement. Grosjean recovered, but lost ground when fourth gear went awol. And on his second pit stop, on lap 40, he overshot and hit his front jack man, but fortunately injuries were restricted to bruised parts, a sprained wrist and ligament damage among his crew. Eighth did at least give the team their third consecutive points finish.

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz, P9
Max Verstappen, P11

Both drivers knew their fast qualifying times wouldn't help them come the race, but even they were surprised how quickly others gobbled them up as they struggled with their STR10s on full tanks. Things got better as the race progressed, but Verstappen used his tyres too soon and paid the price; Sainz preserved his rubber then pushed really hard in the closing stages, jumping both his team mate and Kvyat - the latter on the last lap - to claim ninth on his home ground.

Sauber

Felipe Nasr, P12
Marcus Ericsson, P14

The Saubers lacked downforce and grip, and on this track in particular both drivers struggled as a result. Nasr described 12th as the best the car was capable of.

Force India

Sergio Perez, P13
Nico Hulkenberg, P15

The Force Indias too were missing downforce and grip. Perez used his renowned skills to get 30 laps out of a set of mediums, to take 13th after a two-stop run; Hulkenberg went for three stops, and was 15th, little more than one second behind his team mate. Both felt the damage was done on Saturday, when they were consigned to the ninth row of the grid.

McLaren

Jenson Button, P16
Fernando Alonso, retired lap 26, brakes

McLaren hoped for points in Spain. Instead, they had a really tough weekend. Alonso was in the midfield fight initially, but began to fade along with the performance of his MP4-30's rear brakes. As a result he overshot his pit during a stop on the 26th lap, and the car was retired. Later a tear-off visor was found to be blocking the right rear brake duct.

Button struggled with erratic handling throughout, which vacillated between wheelspin in slow corners and snap oversteer in the fast stuff.

Marussia

Will Stevens, P17
Roberto Merhi, P18

No big dramas here, just another couple of solid finishes, albeit three and four laps down, as Stevens and Merhi battled each other again.