Nico Rosberg is back in the champion seat with a well-deserved victory in the maiden run of the 2016 European Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg has rediscovered his winning form by taking a dominating victory at the 2016 European Grand Prix. With previous poor performances at Monaco and Montreal, his fellow Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton had closed the championship table gap to just 9 points. The win at Baku propels Rosberg to a 24 point lead in the table. Rosberg completely dominated the weekend with a pole position on Saturday qualifying and a tremendous race on Sunday, winning by a gap of 16.6 secs over second place Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton however struggled throughout the race with issues in finding the right power mode and steering settings for his Mercedes. He just couldn’t maintain the pace and finished in 5th place.
The Ferrari team had a great weekend as well with Kimi Raikkonen finishing a respectable 4th place, even after being handed a 5-second penalty for crossing the white line without exiting the pit lane. But issues still remain with the strategic decisions being made by the Ferrari team. In the past these decisions have cost a number of places. At the Baku GP, Sebastien Vettel chose to ignore a call to the pits for fresh tyres claiming that his pace was up to the mark and it was. His lack of faith in the team is what ironically helped him secure that podium finish.
Sergio Perez for Force India had an amazing drive; and time and again, he is proving his excellence behind the wheel. Starting on the grid in 7th place, the Mexican had an amazing drive, bringing his Force India team to an astonishing 3rd place at the chequered flag. Back in Monaco, he pulled off the same feat in the wet, tight streets of Monte Carlo. A brilliant weekend for the Force India boys.
At the lower end of the pecking order Valtteri Bottas outclassed his Williams Martini teammate Filipe Massa finishing in 6th place while the Brazilian finished in 10th place. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished in 7th place thanks to a misguided tyre change issue. His teammate – the young Max Verstappen finished in 8th. The Red Bull cars were struggling in this street power circuit even after picking up certain upgrades for the Renault motor.
Sadly, another poor performance for team McLaren Honda with Jenson Button finishing outside the top 10 in 11th place and Fernando Alonso being forced to retire his McLaren. A decent improvement for the newly formed Renault works team with Kevin Magnussen finishing in 14th and Jolyon Palmer in 15th. The Baku Grand Prix was supposed to be a nightmare affair of a race with expectations of several safety car periods, but surprisingly the race saw no safety car or virtual safety car periods.
Azerbaijan this year hosted its first ever Grand Prix weekend at its capital city of Baku. A beautiful location on the Caspian sea, the city of Baku opened its streets for the high octane racing of Formula One. Being a rather unconventional street circuit with extremely tight sectors it was met with criticism from the F1 fraternity. However, this weekend the streets of Baku proved to be a proper venue for the Grand Prix of Europe. The Baku City Circuit is the fastest street circuit with cars hitting speeds in the range of 360 kmph and also the second longest circuit on the Formula One calendar. The circuit weaves through the heart of Baku and is studded with a mix of historic and modern architecture. With a surprisingly undramatic race, the first ever Baku GP is complete with Nico Rosberg taking first blood at the Azerbaijan street circuit.