This weekend saw the first ever European Grand Prix held in Baku, the track was split in two with the fast part of the track in the new part of the city and the slower more intricate part of the track weaving through the old part. We went into Sunday expecting lots of safety car action but remarkably there wasn’t even a virtual safety car. There was worry about whether overtaking would happen due to the narrow nature of many parts of the track but Baku proved the doubters wrong with an amazing spectacle with lots of overtaking.
It was a pretty uneventful Grand Prix as far as Nico Rosberg was concerned, he led from start to finish and left the rest of the pack behind him as soon as the lights went out. He had a minor issue with his car but managed to fix it quickly unlike his team mate. Lewis Hamilton started the Grand Prix in the wrong mode on his car and due to radio communication rules set out by the FIA, his engineer was unable to tell him which mode to change to. Hamilton was left tinkering with his steering wheel whilst driving at 200mph for most of the Grand Prix, it wasn’t until the end when it was too late to gain a podium position that he managed to fix it. Despite his unfortunate luck he still managed to finish in fifth place after qualifying 10th.
It was another successful Grand Prix for Sebastian Vettel but yet again he couldn’t get on he top step of the podium, it seems the Mercedes is still too fast for the Ferraris. Sergio Perez picked up another podium this season finishing in third place after an impressive climb from seventh on the starting grid.
Kevin Magnussen also climbed impressively through the pack, he started from the pit lane due to a penalty but finished 14th, at one point he was running in 11th place before his tyres began to fall away. Jenson Button took advantage of Magnussen’s problems and was one of the first to overtake him once his tyres began to slow him down. Button retained the 11th place he took from Magnussen meaning he finished the race one place outside the points, his team mate Fernando Alonso had to retire meaning no points for McLaren this weekend.
The race win for Nico Rosberg means he has extended his lead from the close 9 points after Canada to 24 championship points. If anything was to happen to Rosberg’s car at Austria in two weeks time and Hamilton was to win, Hamilton would be leading the championship.
Nico Rosberg: It’s been an amazing day really, an amazing weekend. Thank you all here in Baku for welcoming us in this way. It’s been spectacular, great track you’ve made, really exciting racing. Of course, for me the weekend went perfectly: qualifying, race, everything to plan, so it was really awesome.
It’s been a great and awesome weekend, really, yeah. Everything went cleanly, y’know, from the beginning to the end. And even in the race, it was a special feeling out there in the car because it felt like I could do whatever I wanted the thing would just stick to the line, stick to the ground, there was no risk of making mistakes or anything. It felt really, really special and I’m very, very happy. It’s been an awesome result, first time here, y’know, I think it’s been a big success. The track is exciting, definitely, and a lot of overtaking also today I hear – I think, I’m not sure but I think so – so all in all good.
Sebastian Vettel: Well, first of all, thank you very much. It’s the first time we are here in Azerbaijan. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it’s been a great track, a great pleasure, a great welcome for all of us. I think the circuit is incredible. You need to be ‘well-equipped’, let’s put it this way, around here, so some proper high-speed corners and very, very close. Today has obviously been a great job for us. Already by the end of yesterday the car was coming alive. We were struggling a bit on Friday, but to see where we are now I think is a great recovery. Second place in a row, two times on the podium now in a row after Canada, which is great, scoring some good points – even though this weekend was a bit different to last week. But still I think the pace is there, the car is good, we are coming along, so all in all a great day and thanks to the team.
Sergio Perez: I knew yesterday when I put the car in the wall in P3 that this was a big chance for us to score a massive result [potentially lost]. I was so frustrated with myself. Then going into qualifying, my boys did an amazing job to fix the car, to put everything together. And then I had to do the job, you know. I had to get on with the job. We had a great qualifying but still we were starting P7 today and we had to make our way through. Very good start, very good first lap. Very nice overtaking in Turn Two for Massa and Kvyat and then fighting with Kimi all the way to the end. I knew that he had a five-second penalty, but it was still nice to get him on the last lap.