Share

Rosberg cruises to victory in Azerbaijan


After two successive wins had lifted him back into contention for a fourth title Hamilton slipped back to 24 points behind Rosberg whose return to form brought him a 19th career victory

Mercedes are lining up to push the International Automobile Federation (FIA), motor sport’s governing body, into abandoning the ban on radio help from top engineers that prevented the world champion from racing in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Sunday.

Victory extended Rosberg’s championship lead to 24 points as Hamilton trailed in fifth after winning the last two races.

Rosberg led every lap from pole position in a dominant race, comfortably finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with Sergio Perez behind him in third.

Mercedes say that it is not right to conclude that Lewis Hamilton struggled with his engine settings in Baku because he is less studious than Nico Rosberg. Of course, for me the weekend went perfectly: “qualifying, race, everything to plan, so it was really awesome”, Rosberg added. It was incredible that we managed to hit speeds of up to 366kmph on a street circuit.

“I persevered as I always do when times are tough, and we’ll hopefully come out the other side”. “But I never give up”, he said. And today after starting from P7, it was a fight all the way.

So when he noticed a problem first occur on lap four, it took a while for the team to work out what it was and it was not obvious to Hamilton what to do. “Force India were strong all weekend, they were probably the second fastest vehicle after Mercedes here”.

On lap 11, Hamilton finally squeezed past Bottas under braking at Turn One to take fourth. Hamilton remains in second with 117 points and Vettel is third with 96 points.

The champion complained of brake problems and vibrations before pitting after 16 laps – going to softs – and rejoining ninth.

While team mate, race victor and championship leader Nico Rosberg had a similar problem, he managed to fix the setting because he had made a change earlier and simply reversed what he had done.

By lap 23, following the pit-stops, Rosberg was 19 seconds clear of the Finn, followed by Vettel, Perez and Hamilton. Interestingly, both the Red Bull driver, Daniel Ricciardo, and Max Verstappen stood at seventh and eighth, respectively.

Kimi Raikkonen had an electronics issue midway through the race, but Ferrari was unable to aid him.

The team said they had programmed one of the engine’s modes incorrectly, so it was giving less power when it was meant to give more.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes the European Grand Prix highlighted a problem with the new team radio clampdown, which limits what can and can’t be communicated between the driver and team.

It allowed the German, who was lapping a second faster than his rivals, to claim a routine fifth win of the season – and a first since the Russian Grand Prix on 1 May.