Nico Rosberg takes 19th career Win in Baku
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News June 19, 2016 Updated: 3:20 PM
Nico Rosberg took a comfortable victory at the Grand Prix of Europe Baku debut to score his 19th career win, fifth of the season, managing to extend his lead in the driver’s championship by 24-points over Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
“I really felt at one with the car in a way I’ve never felt before. I didn’t have the feeling that something would go wrong at any point today. The car was awesome this weekend, so thank you so much to the team for this,” said Rosberg.
Hamilton finished fifth after an incorrect setting saw him down on power. With the new radio regulations this season, the pit wall was unable to assist Hamilton on how to fix the issue.
Eventually he took matters into his on hands and found a setting on lap 42 that allowed him to up his pace by over a second. However, Hamilton later made the smart decision to turn the engine down after he saw he wasn’t able to close the gap on his teammate.
“I just had no power. I was in an engine mode which made it feel like I was driving without ERS for a long time. We have hundreds of different combinations of switch position on the wheel and, no matter how much you study, there’s no way to remember them all. I was driving around looking at my screen trying to work out what was wrong – but I couldn’t see anything I’d done differently.
I was more than ten seconds behind the guy in front and the same ahead of the guy behind. I actually turned the engine down at the end to save it, knowing that I don’t have so many left for the season. But it wasn’t to be today, so the result is what it is. I’ve got points for P5 and now I’ll try to bounce back at the next race,” said Hamilton.
As for Sebastian Vettel, he was able to finish second place on a tough weekend for Ferrari. Vettel was 16.6s down from Rosberg who continues to show he is strongest when unchallenged by other drivers.
“We can be very proud of what we achieved today, both cars got points. We were very bad off and slow on Friday and initially we didn’t know why. We changed a lot in the car, made big steps forward, and we finished second today,” said Vettel.
Force India’s Sergio Perez took his second podium of the season with an impressive comeback from a five-place grid penalty he received in Saturday’s qualifying. He passed Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen for third place at the start of the final lap. Raikkonen received a five-second penalty for for straying over the pit lane entry line.
“I knew that the podium was possible today, but we really had to work hard for it. The key to my race was the great start I made to get around a Williams [Massa] and a Toro Rosso [Kvyat]. Then, in the first stint I was suffering with graining of my supsersoft tires and we had to decide whether to wait for it to improve or to make an early stop,” said Perez.
Valtteri Bottas took sixth place for Williams, just 4.5s behind Hamilton, but with a comfortable 8.3s ahead of Red Bull driver, Daniel Ricciardo. Ricciardo was on a two-stop strategy which saw him drop from second to seventh, but Red Bull as a team struggled with a lack of straight-line speed throughout the race.
Both Ricciardo and Verstappen struggled in the early stages of the race, but strategy may have let Red Bull down again.
Nico Hulkenberg finished ninth for Force India on an unusual strategy where he started on softs tires and completed a 31-lap stint on the super-softs in the second half of the race. It was still enough, however, to beat Williams’ Felipe Massa who was on a two-stop strategy.