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Mercedes out to extend domination
Out to win: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP clear out at Shanghai.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Not content with winning all four
races this year, the outstanding
Mercedes team head to this
week’s Spanish Grand Prix
seeking to extend their advantage
over the rest of the field.
Lewis Hamilton and his
Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg
have dominated in Australia,
Malaysia, Bahrain, and China,
with Hamilton winning the last
three in succession following
Rosberg’s success in Melbourne.
But that — and the prospect of
continued successes — is not
enough for Mercedes, whose
motorsport boss Toto Wolff has
called for a much greater effort in
a bid to press home their
As the Formula One circus
prepares to race in Europe for the
first time this year, every team
will arrive at the Circuit de
Catalunya with upgraded cars
carrying revised parts — thus
turning the start of the ‘‘Euro-
pean season’’ into a new start.
‘‘We know our rivals are going
to be relentless in their effort to
close the gap on us so our aim is
to increase the advantage we
enjoyed at the last race, in
China,’’ said Wolff.
to the challenge — to take that
relentless mentality to an even
greater extent than those around
us. If we are to build a sustained
level of success in this sport, any
small advantage must be seen as
a platform upon which to build a
Having seen how Red Bull’s
consummate superiority has been
overturned, Wolff is fully aware
of the frailty of any level of
advantage in Formula One.
He said he has long believed
that Mercedes’ advantage at the
front of the field is not as great as
some have suggested and warned
that the German manufacturer’s
dominance could come to a swift
end unless it keeps pushing.
‘‘I believe that this is an
exceptional run and you cannot
take it for granted,’’ he said.
‘‘In a couple of years, we will be
looking back and saying that was
really great — four races in a
row, and three doubles in a row.
‘‘But we have to keep our feet
on the ground, and concentrate
on developing the car further. We
saw in China that our rivals were
strong in some stints and we have
to analyse that.
‘‘We don’t want to be caught on
the back foot. So the kind of spirit
we are trying to maintain is that
we are not having a comfortable
lead, but we are fighting to stay
As Mercedes plan to stay on
top, McLaren are battling to
regain their competitiveness after
a strong opening race in Austra-
lia was followed by a dip in form.
Racing director Eric Boullier
and chief executive Jonathan
Neale have reviewed the team’s
operations and reacted with a raft
of new signings. These have
included aerodynamicists Tony
Salter from Sauber and Guill-
aume Cattelani from Lotus ahead
of the arrival next year of new
aero chief Peter Prodromou.
All smiles: Honda MotoGP rider Marc
Marquez of Spain celebrates on the
podium after winning the Spanish Grand
Prix at Jerez racetrack in Jerez de la
Frontera, southern Spain. Photo: REUTERS
World champion Marc Marquez
continued his perfect season by win-
ning the Spanish MotoGP for the
first time at Jerez on Sunday.
The 21-year-old won his 36th
Grand Prix in just his 100th race
with seven-time world MotoGP
champion Valentino Rossi second on
a Yamaha, just ahead of Marquez’s
compatriot and Honda team-mate
Marquez – who had won all three
previous Grand Prix this season – in
Qatar, Texas, and Argentina,
extended his world championship
lead over Pedrosa to 28 points.
He became the first rider since
Australian Mick Doohan in 1992 to
win the first four races of the year.
‘‘I’m really happy, it’s a different
kind of victory. I struggled a little bit
this weekend, and the level is so
high with Pedrosa, Jorge, and Val-
entino, who are all very strong,’’ said
Marquez, who won in a time of 1min
39.841sec. ‘‘In the beginning I was
able to open a gap and push.’’
Marquez said he was reluctant to
predict a fifth successive victory
when the championship moves to Le
Mans in France on May 18.
‘‘Le Mans is a weekend with a big
question mark over the weather. We
finished third there in the wet last
year, and we feel strong in the dry.
But for the moment we’ll enjoy this
victory and get ready to test
tomorrow,’’ said the Spaniard.
Marquez had started on pole and
was in a class of his own all after-
noon in the blistering Andalusian
heat. By the 12th lap he had built up
a four-second lead, and after that he
merely managed his advantage com-
fortably until the end of the race.
Behind him a battle brewed between
Rossi, who took his second podium
of the year, and Pedrosa.
Rossi had to use all his 35 years of
experience to hold off the charging
Pedrosa – a twice former winner in
Jerez – on the final corner with the
pair going neck and neck. ‘‘I’m very,
very happy because Jerez is one of
my favourite circuits and one of my
favourite weekends because of the
crowds around the track,’’ said Rossi,
who was 1.5sec behind Marquez.
Pedrosa passed Lorenzo on lap 20
of the 27-lap race, but was unable to
overtake Rossi despite several
Rossi’s Yamaha teammate, the
twice world champion Jorge
Lorenzo, had a disappointing after-
noon, coming fourth more than eight
seconds behind Marquez in his
200th GP and on his 27th birthday.
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