Nico Rosberg, who won Sunday’s inaugural Baku Formula 1 Grand Prix, praised the event after winning the race with a dominant display. Because of the city track’s tight turns, many expected the crash to be dramatic. The GP2 race earlier in the day saw high drama, with many crashes. However the main race was unexpectedly calm, with cars staying away from the safety barriers.
In the practice sessions, the metal kerbs in Baku were damaging cars’ tyres, a problem most F1 tracks avoid by using rubber. However, this issue was resolved before the main race.
Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, of Mercedes like Rosberg, had a bad race. After crashing during qualifying, he started the Grand Prix in tenth position. Hamilton, who also struggled with an engine setting problem throughout the race, admitted he had an “off day”.
He overtook several other cars to climb up to fifth, but was unable to secure a podium finish. Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari came second, 12.2 seconds behind Rosberg, while Sergio Perez of Force India came third.
Following Rosberg’s comfortable victory, which increased his lead over Lewis Hamilton to 24 points, the trophy was presented to him by Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev. First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva also appeared at the trophy ceremony.
Kimi Raikkonen came fourth, while after Hamilton in fifth were Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo.
A total of thirteen people, five of them foreign citizens, were hospitalized during the course of the Grand Prix, the health ministry told APA. Over 100 received some form of medical assistance.
The Baku track is slightly over six kilometres long, and the drivers completed 51 laps. 11 teams, with two drivers each, competed in the race. The event was dubbed the 'European Grand Prix', the name given to an event which happens most years in the Formula One calendar, where a race is given to a new European destination, as well as the usual suspects like Monaco and Silverstone in the UK.
Away from the racetrack visitors were entertained by singers Chris Brown and Enrique Inglesias, before American superstar Pharrell Williams closed proceedings on the Sunday night with hits such as ‘Happy’, ‘Get Lucky’ and ‘Freedom’.
SOURCE: commonspace.eu and agencies
PHOTOS: Nico Rosberg - Aldrin Xhemaj/EPA