Beaten Hamilton lives to fight another day

Sun May 10, 2015 4:35pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton lived to fight another day after Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix turned into a damage limitation exercise for the Formula One championship leader.

A poor start and a problem changing a rear wheel on his first pitstop left the Mercedes driver playing catch-up while team mate Nico Rosberg cruised to his first win of the season.

Third into the first corner, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel slipping past, Hamilton fought back to finish second and ensure he takes a 20-point lead over Rosberg to Monaco in two weeks' time.

"I’m grateful I could gain those points for the team and it’s kind of damage limitation for me, so it’s not bad," the double world champion told reporters.

Rosberg, who had not beaten Hamilton since November last year, was far down the road -- some 22 seconds -- after Hamilton made his last stop with 15 laps to go.

"I pushed very hard to see if I could have the pace on him in order to close it but it was less than a second (gain a lap) really," he said.

"I pushed right until there was, like, six laps to go and I still had 13 seconds to go. So after that I kind of realized that I should bring the car home and live to fight another day."

Hamilton made three stops to Rosberg's two, looking for something that might get him back into the frame, but the German's position proved unassailable.   Continued...

Formula One - F1 - Spanish Grand Prix 2015 - Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - 10/5/15
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg celebrates his win on the podium with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton
Reuters / Gustau Nacarino