Rosberg victory is warning to Hamilton

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton on the podium after his second place in the Spanish Grand Prix   in Barcelona Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton on the podium after his second place in the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.
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Nico Rosberg completed a “fantastic weekend” to put himself firmly in the title picture as he took his first win of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The German had struggled to get close to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the opening four races of the year but was back to his best in Barcelona, winning from pole to close to 20 points behind the reigning champion.

A poor start from Hamilton instantly gave Rosberg the upper hand on a circuit notoriously bad for overtaking - with Sebastian Vettel also getting ahead of the Brit before the first corner.

Despite then suffering a long first pit stop, a switch to a three-stop strategy was enough for Hamilton to jump Vettel and take second place, with the German once again occupying the final step of the podium.

Rosberg never looked in danger of relinquishing the lead and won by 17.5 seconds after promising to deliver a “complete weekend” for the first time so far this season.

Last year’s runner-up in the drivers’ championship had played second fiddle to Hamilton until this race but looked sharper in Bahrain three weeks ago and carried that into the opening European race of the campaign.

Hamilton had said after losing out on pole position for the first time this season that he would have to be “fresher” than Rosberg to beat him off the line and lead from the front.

Instead, the 30-year-old suffered wheel spin when the lights went out and was left ruing that moment.

Jenson Button ended the race in 16th place after a dismal afternoon towards the back of the field.