Silver Arrows Splendid in Spain

Lewis Hamilton has taken the Formula One World Championship lead for the first time in two years after his fourth consecutive Grand Prix victory in Barcelona.

He beat Nico Rosberg in a close Mercedes one-two, with Daniel Ricciardo taking what amounts to his first F1 podium he can keep at the Spanish Grand Prix; the Aussie was disqualified from second place in the opening race in Melbourne. 

It was the 26th victory of Hamilton’s career and his first at the Spanish Grand Prix. 

Another serious milestone to note about the result in Spain is that it was the fourth Mercedes 1-2 in a row this season, an almost unprecedent run of domination in modern F1. Even in the Schumacher/Barrichello Ferrari years of the early 2000s such consistent dominance was rare. At the end of 2002 they finished 1-2 five times in a row, but to start a season on this kind of form, you’re going back to the Senna/Prost days at McLaren in 1988 when they won every race that season, apart from one.

Everyone had updates to their car in Barcelona and the pecking order definitely changed with McLaren slipping further back, Williams coming on stron and even Lotus gaining ground. But the result, with Hamilton a second clear in pole on Saturday and over 40 seconds ahead of Ricciardo at the chequered flag after 66 laps, showed that 

Mercedes has increased its lead over its rivals and now we are essentially looking at the battle between Hamilton and Rosberg being the championship story, with prospects receding for any other drivers to get in on the title chase. 

Hamilton made a good start - and Rosberg another poor one - quickly establishing a comfortable two-second lead over his team-mate in the opening laps as the Silver Arrows cars stretched away from their pursuers. 

Rosberg tried a different strategy which made for a grand stand finish but Hamilton held him off in the closing laps for his first win on Spanish soil. Next stop is Monaco, home town to both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. 

Both are former Monaco winners. With Hamilton now getting his nose in front in the championship standings for the first time this season, it’s a race Rosberg has to win otherwise Hamilton will begin to move away in control of the title race.