Nico Rosberg became the first ever Grand Prix winner in Baku while his teammate Lewis Hamilton ran into trouble once again.
Nico Rosberg: “I am so happy to win here in Baku. I really felt at one with the car in a way I’ve never felt before. I didn’t have the feeling that something would go wrong at any point today. The car was awesome this weekend, so thank you so much to the team for this. I already began to sense it in Qualifying yesterday, this perfect feeling. We expected a Safety Car moment in this race, so I was hoping that it wouldn’t happen as that tends to mess up the race in general. But it was a pretty straightforward afternoon for me at the front. There was only one little concern when I felt that I was down on power a bit in the middle of the race. The engineers weren’t allowed to tell me what I had to do, so I had a look at my steering wheel and tried to fix it myself, which worked out well. Sagol! – which means ‘thank you very much’ – to Baku for this great weekend. I look forward to Austria now!”
Lewis Hamilton: “I have no idea what happened out there today. I just had no power. I was in an engine mode which made it feel like I was driving without ERS for a long time. We have hundreds of different combinations of switch position on the wheel and, no matter how much you study, there’s no way to remember them all. I was driving around looking at my screen trying to work out what was wrong – but I couldn’t see anything I’d done differently. It’s such a complicated, technical formula we have now and I don’t really see the benefit in preventing us from being able to fix these things out on track. It was just a real shame that I couldn’t race. If I’d been able to resolve it, I might have at least been able to be a part of the show and fight with the guys ahead of me. With about ten laps to go it sorted itself out – but by that time there was nothing to be gained or lost as I was more than ten seconds behind the guy in front and the same ahead of the guy behind. I actually turned the engine down at the end to save it, knowing that I don’t have so many left for the season. But it wasn’t to be today, so the result is what it is. I’ve got points for P5 and now I’ll try to bounce back at the next race.”
Sebastian Vettel: “We can be very proud of what we achieved today, both cars got points. We were very bad off and slow on Friday and initially we didn’t know why. We changed a lot in the car, made big steps forward, and we finished second today. I think the way things went on the track was fantastic, but we can’t be entirely happy. We lost a position with Kimi but he played nice team work, he was very kind to hand me the place. In the end it was a bit of a shame that we didn’t manage to finish second and third, but I think he was struggling quite a bit with his tires. It was not a fresh set. I had a good feeling with the tires, so I kept the first set a bit longer, even if after a couple of laps I wasn’t so confident. But later the tires did recover and from that point it was good again. The season is long and I think there’s a lot of stuff happening here, but especially back in Maranello. Our President is pushing very hard, but in a good way. He is willing to understand, help us and to push us, as well. Ambition is high but, moving forward step by step, I am sure we will do the right things for this year and for the future to make sure we give the others a very hard time. We didn’t have a wonderful start of the season, even though the car has been good, but I think most of the times we didn’t fully use our opportunities. However, today we did a great job. We will keep doing the optimum and keep enhancing our chances to be there at the end of the year, but surely we know we have to pick up our game and improve the car.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall I’m a bit disappointed of how difficult this weekend was, far from being fun all the time, but in the race the car was good and the speed was there. At one point I ran over the white line and got a 5 seconds penalty. From that moment I tried to keep the gap to Perez to maintain my position, but on a couple of occasions I ended up following two lapped cars and lost precious time. I’m fine with the fact of swapping position with Sebastian, because anyway I had the penalty, but in the moment I let him pass I lost 2.5 seconds in that lap and this did not help.In the end I could have for sure stayed in front of Perez but there was no reason to fight and maybe take some risks. Obviously my race could have been a different story today, but considering all that happened, the end the result is not too bad.”
Sergio Perez: “I knew that the podium was possible today, but we really had to work hard for it. The key to my race was the great start I made to get around a Williams [Massa] and a Toro Rosso [Kvyat]. Then, in the first stint I was suffering with graining of my supsersoft tyres and we had to decide whether to wait for it to improve or to make an early stop. In the end, we stayed out longer, which was the right decision, but when I came out of the pits I struggled to warm-up the soft tyres and I was under big pressure from Lewis [Hamilton] behind. I pushed as hard as I could and opened up a gap, and then I focussed on looking after my tyres. I closed in on Kimi [Raikkonen] and I knew he had a penalty, but on the final lap I got very close to him and saw the opportunity to overtake him, so I took it. To be on the podium for a second time this year feels fantastic. The team has done a brilliant job and we are having an amazing year.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a fairly tough race for me. The start was ok, but coming into turn one someone [Gutierrez] hit me from behind. I lost a couple of positions trying to control the car and that put me a bit on the back foot. Getting through traffic in the opening stages was not very easy and it cost me a lot of time. Then, for the early part of the race, I was struggling with oversteer and in general I couldn’t find the same harmony with the car that I had in practice. Making the supersoft tyres last as long as I did – 31 laps – was not easy and by the end of the race I had very little left, but it was a risk I was happy to take to make our strategy work. The car had great potential all weekend long, but I feel I paid for the mistake I made yesterday in qualifying. However, I am pleased for the team’s result: it means we bring home a bunch of points which is a boost for our season.”