Rosberg Soars To Victory In Baku As Hamilton Is Left Dazed & Confused
Formula One
It was the best of times it was the worst of times for Mercedes. When the opening day of the inaugural European Grand Prix began Hamilton conquered all around the capital city of Azerbaijan. Baku’s multi-historic streets were turned into a race circuit for three days of Formula One and Lewis Hamilton seemed to claim the territory as his own. Saturday’s qualifying was a different matter as Hamilton looked dazed and confused making mistakes, running wide and struggling to muster a quick lap around a very tight and tricky track.  When Hamilton was on a quick lap in the final session of qualifying he hit the wall in what looked like a session filled with errors, probably as a result of a lack of concentration. It was left to Rosberg to secure pole while Hamilton ended up tenth on the grid. European-Grand-Prix-Baku-2016-Start Mercedes are still the fastest on the 22 car grid and despite nearest challengers Ferrari and Red Bull making progress with updates it is still evident that Mercedes is unbeatable. European-Grand-Prix-Baku-2016-Turn-1 To back up just how good the Mercedes engine is the Force India of Sergio Perez, which uses a customer Mercedes engine, powered his way to 2nd on the grid. Force India is one of the minnows of F1 and made full use of the advantages of being a Mercedes partner. European-Grand-Prix-Baku-2016-Baku-Scenic Sunday’s race day was to prove just so, however Mercedes only Achilles Heal appears to be with the start sequence meaning that they have been beaten off the line more times than they would like. European-Grand-Prix-Baku-2016-Alonso-Button However Force India had to change the Gear box Perezs’ car on Saturday which meant a penalty and a drop down the grid by 5 places for Sunday. That meant Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was elevated into second with the very real possibility of beating Rosberg into second place come race day proper. European-Grand-Prix-Baku-2016-Raikkonen When the Red lights did go out to signal the start of the race Rosberg held his cool and retained 1st position going into turn 1. European-Grand-Prix-Baku-2016-Rosberg From there on Rosberg was never really challenged for the superiority of the Mercedes was so complete that Rosberg never lost the lead even when he made a mandatory pit-stop.European-Grand-Prix-Baku-2016-Raikkonen-Perez Hamilton had a much more difficult task, to stay out of trouble at the start where the possibility of being involved in a crash was higher than normal, particularly with the street circuit nature of Baku where any mistake is punishable with a trip to the wall. European-Grand-Prix-Baku-2016-Podium Hamilton did stay out of trouble and looked more composed in the race than he did during qualifying. But he also picked up an engine management issue which meant he lost electrical-recovery power for much of the race yet he had enough pace left to take fifth overall. Sebastian Vettel ended with second place after both Red Bull’s struggled with rear tyre wear. Sergio Perez managed to claim third as a result of Kimi Raikkonen picking up a 5 second penalty during the race. All in all the European Grand Prix was a fairly processional race that demonstrated Mercedes still possess a healthy advantage over it’s nearest rivals. Grand Prix of Europe 2016 Results
Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired Pts
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 51 1:32:52.366 25
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 51 +16.696s 18
3 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 51 +25.241s 15
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 51 +33.102s 12
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 51 +56.335s 10
6 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 51 +60.886s 8
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 51 +69.229s 6
8 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 51 +70.696s 4
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 51 +77.708s 2
10 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 51 +85.375s 1
11 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda 51 +104.817s 0
12 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari 50 +1 lap 0
13 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 50 +1 lap 0
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Renault 50 +1 lap 0
15 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 50 +1 lap 0
16 21 Esteban Gutierrez Haas Ferrari 50 +1 lap 0
17 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 50 +1 lap 0
18 88 Rio Haryanto MRT Mercedes 49 +2 laps 0
NC 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 42 DNF 0
NC 94 Pascal Wehrlein MRT Mercedes 39 DNF 0
NC 55 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Ferrari 31 DNF 0
NC 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 6 DNF 0

Note – Perez, Sainz and Magnussen had five-place grid penalties for unscheduled gearbox changes. Magnussen started from pit lane after suspension set-up changes in parc ferme after qualifying. Raikkonen had 5s added to his race time for crossing the pit entry line without entering the pits.

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