Fernando Alonso finished his home Grand Prix in sixth place, with Kimi Raikkonen seventh. After qualifying respectively seventh and sixth, the only chance of moving up the order would depend on the start and then a clever strategy. In the case of the former, both F14 Ts were unable to make any headway when the lights went out. And as for the latter, Fernando’s three stops and Kimi’s two stops were matched by those around them. Lewis Hamilton took his fourth straight win to lead the Championship, with his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third for Red Bull.
As the lights went out, the two Mercedes took off cleanly from the front row, with Bottas in the Williams jumping Ricciardo in the Red Bull to go third. Both Ferraris got slightly boxed in as they jostled for position and were sixth (Kimi) and seventh (Fernando) behind Grosjean in the Lotus. Fernando had left the line a fraction slowly and used all his tenacity to prevent Massa in the Williams passing him into Turn 1.
After 11 laps, although he was within DRS distance of Kimi, Fernando was not yet looking to pass his team-mate. The two Prancing Horse pilots were in any case on different strategies; the Spaniard going for three tyre changes and the Finn for two. Vettel was the first to pit, switching to the Hard Pirellis on lap 12, having started from 15th because of a gearbox penalty.
Fernando brought his F14 T in on lap 16 for another set of Mediums, while Kimi did the same on the following lap. Leader Hamilton changed tyres on lap 18. As Kimi rejoined the track, Fernando was charging past the pits and almost got ahead, even locking a wheel, but the Finn held firm. The only change through the run of pit stops was the Ricciardo was now third, ahead of Bottas.
Lap 23 and having closed on Grosjean, Kimi almost managed to squeeze past the Lotus but couldn’t complete the move. He did it next time round into Turn 1 and now the Spanish Ferrari man was all over the Frenchman’s gearbox, getting past in a copy of Kimi’s move, on lap 25. Alonso came in on lap 36 fitting the Hards. He rejoined and with the run of stops, found himself again behind fifth placed Kimi, 17 seconds adrift.
Kimi came in on lap 43 but he lost out to Vettel dropping to seventh, with Fernando up to fifth. At the front, Hamilton had 4.6 in hand over Rosberg with 18 laps to go, the Englishman on Hards, the German on faster Mediums. A dull race was really coming to life as the two Mercedes team-mates were separated by 0.9 with 7 laps to go, but try as he might, there were not enough laps for the quicker Rosberg to pass Hamilton.
Vettel in fifth was beginning to pose a threat to Alonso as he had got the gap to the Ferrari man down to 1.9 before changing tyres on lap 52, one lap earlier than Fernando and it was enough for both Vettel and Bottas to get ahead of the local hero.
Kimi was fifth but he now had his mirrors full of Vettel with ten laps remaining and the German, on fresher tyres easily swept past the Finn, so that the two F14 Ts were sixth and seventh. The three stopping Spaniard was considerably quicker and the two Prancing Horses were nose to tail, then side by side for a few corners until Fernando snatched sixth in an exciting little inter-team battle.
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