Aside from the most ardent Lewis Hamilton fans, most Formula One lovers would have been delighted to see the Brit’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg open up his 2015 account in Spain.
Having conceded three of the first four Grand Prix victories to Hamilton, the importance of taking the chequered flag in Barcelona simply cannot be underestimated where the world championship is concerned.
Although Hamilton still finished second, his lead in the standings has been trimmed from 27 to 20 points and psychologically this is so significant for Rosberg’s chances.
In theory at least, a single victory could now see the German overtake his rival.
It had begun to look like Hamilton would soon disappear into the sunset, however, the battle is most definitely back on as the calendar turns towards Monaco and a run of races in which Rosberg profited most from in 2014.
Odds of 1/6 on Hamilton retaining his world crown suggest one win on its own is not a significant threat, but there’s a chance 5/1 on Rosberg may sound very chunky in another five races time.
By this juncture last season Hamilton had already won more races, 4/5, before heading to the unique surroundings of Monaco which proved a tide-turning race for the German.
Breaking Hamilton’s stranglehold on pole positions in Barcelona is also a momentous breakthrough for Rosberg in 2015, as nowhere is starting from the front of the grid more essential than in Monaco.
As Rosberg showed in 2015, qualifying first is the golden ticket to a race win among the yachts and hairpin bends, where overtaking is an almost futile exercise.
In fact, after Spain last season, Hamilton only picked up one (Canada) of the next seven Grand Prixs while Rosberg was seen on top of the podium three times, in Monaco, Austria and then Germany.
Crucially he claimed six of seven poles from this period, while Hamilton failed to take pole or win again until race 13 in Italy.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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