Mercedes-Benz’s Nico Rosberg drove to a dominant finish over Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in Sunday’s first-ever European Grand Prix at Baku. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, with Force India’s Sergio Perez turning in a brilliant drive to split the two Ferraris and take third place.
After nabbing pole position Saturday, Rosberg led as the field approached Turn 1 and quickly drove away from the field, never once being challenged for the lead. Behind him, Vettel engaged in a battle with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, which concluded with the Ferrari passing the Red Bull on Lap 6 after Ricciardo pitted for soft tires.
Vettel stayed out until Lap 20 before pitting, while Raikkonen came into the Ferrari pit stall one lap earlier. Soon after, Raikkonen was handed a 5 second penalty for crossing the pit entry line without entering the pits, which all but guaranteed third place would go to Perez. The penalty would have no effect on the result, however, as Perez was able to pass Raikkonen into Turn 1 as the Fin struggled with ERS problems.
Rosberg’s teammate Lewis Hamilton had a tough race, starting ninth after crashing in qualifying. Making matters worse, the Briton’s Mercedes was accidently put in a lower power mode before the race, making it hard for him to work his way through the field. He eventually got the car back into the correct setting, but by this time the front-runners were too far ahead.
Similarly, Rosberg’s car was also accidentally put in a low power mode, however the German was able to reverse the change quickly and was mostly unaffected by the issue. Mercedes said Hamilton’s car was accidentally put in the mode by the team, while Rosberg activated the setting on his car on his own.
Hamilton would cross the finish line in fifth to round out the top five. The result widened Rosberg’s lead over Hamilton in the Dirver’s Championship standings, with Rosberg claiming 141 points to Hamilton’s 117. Sebastian Vettel is third in the standings with 96 points