The West

Ricciardo claims first podium finish in Spain
Race winner Lewis Hamilton congratulates Daniel Ricciardo on the podium. Pic: Reuters

Emerging West Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo claimed his first podium finish in Formula One as the Mercedes team dominated the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton took over leadership of the drivers championship with his fourth win in a row, finishing just 0.6 seconds ahead of his teammate Nico Rosberg.

The Englishman moved to 100 points for the season, three ahead of German Rosberg.

Ricciardo came home third for Red Bull ahead of his teammate, defending four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who had started from 15th on the grid.

After winning by just a few car lengths at the Circuit de Catalunya, Hamilton said Rosberg had been the faster driver, but he had won thanks to advice from his team in the closing stages.

“Nico was quicker. I struggled with the balance and needed to rely on my engineers,” Hamilton said.

“I was moving my settings up and down and fortunately I was able to keep Nico behind.”

Rosberg, after finishing second behind Hamilton for the fourth consecutive time, said he felt he needed just one more lap to make a passing move.

“Unfortunately that was it and I am a bit gutted, but still, second place, second in the championship and many more races to go... I will go to Monaco to go one better and try and repeat the win from last year.”

For Perth's Ricciardo it was a moment of special satisfaction, having finished third in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix before being disqualified for a fuel irregularity.

“We did not have the pace on Mercedes,” said the West Australian, who finished 49sec behind Hamilton.

“We had a pretty comfortable third place and it is really nice to be on the podium and I am sure I will get to keep it this time!“

It was Hamilton’s first win in Spain and the 26th of his career while the Mercedes one-two stamped their complete supremacy on the constructors’ championship which they now lead by more than 100 points.

Hamilton added that he had not dared dream of such a strong start to his second season with Mercedes after his unexpected decision to leave McLaren.

“This is what the idea was, that I was given. I wasn’t sure we could actually be a second faster than Red Bull, but we’ve managed to do it. I’m really pleased and to have our fourth 1-2 finish together is unreal.”

Hamilton now has a 55-point lead over fourth-placed Vettel, whose strong drive after two days blighted by setbacks signalled his threat.

The German said: “That was more fun than the last race when I had to let people by. All in all it was the maximum we could do.”

Finn Valtteri Bottas finished fifth for the resurgent Williams team ahead of local hero and two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari team-mate 2007 champion Finn Kimi Raikkonen.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean was eighth for Lotus, signalling their return to some form after a dismal start to the year, ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez and his Force India team-mate German Nico Hulkenberg, who was 10th.

The West Australian

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