June 20, 2016

Baku, Moans and Groans.

(photo : Ferrari)

Who would have thought that a track which produced the highest ever speed for a Formula 1 car,  378 kmh (234.8 mph) followed by a braking zone into a tight 90 degree turn flanked by concrete barriers would produce a dull race with no accidents or safety cars?

That was the biggest surprise of the inaugural European GP in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Street tracks usually result in either dull processions or giant clusterf...s.  Baku promised a yet untried variant for F1,  a Macau for big boys,  with cars trimmed as much as teams dared having to scrub  170 mph or so into turn 1

As Vettel put it after the race, it's a track that requires proper "equipment" yet the race was as short on spectacle as it was on spectators.

(Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas)

In reality,  the most necessary equipment was a Mercedes power unit.   It is obvious on this track how much Mercedes has been cautious in the past in deploying its full power potential.  It certainly seems like the Germans have a vast reserve to call upon whenever another team gets too close.  On a track with a two plus kilometer straight, Ferrari and Renault powered cars had little hope, the Silver Arrows could only beat themselves.

Which they partly managed to do in Baku.  

We get attacked by the Hamfosi any time we dare say anything about the spiritual heir of Ali and Senna ,  suffice it to say, he had a doozy of a week end, starting with him calling other drivers "moaners" on Friday and ending with him complaining about the new radio restrictions.   We'll leave it at that.

I would recommend you read the editorial on Formula1blog.com.  Eloquently put.

On the subject of press coverage:  After Canada, Ferrari got creamed for "blowing a sure victory"  this was both in the international media and in particular with the often bloodthirsty Italian press.     In reality, it's not at all certain Vettel would have been able to keep Hamilton behind in Montreal.  
But everyone is Ross Brawn on Monday.

In Baku, Red Bull made the same "error" but ended up with a much worse result.   Will they get the same thrashing?    Maybe in the Australian press.

(photo: Getty/Red Bull)

Ferrari actually had a fairly good week end, Vettel second,  Raikkonen fourth despite a two stop strategy and a questionable penalty.

It's an interesting stat that as of the start of the  European phase of the championship, Vettel has scored 63 points, Hamilton 60 and Rosberg 41.

Chances are the fat lady will sing Wagner or God Save the Queen but, she has not sung yet.

(photo : Ferrari)

1Nico RosbergMercedes1h32m52.366s
2Sebastian VettelFerrari16.696s
3Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes25.241s
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari33.102s
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes56.335s
6Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1m00.886s
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m09.229s
8Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault1m10.696s
9Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1m17.708s
10Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1m25.375s
11Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1m44.817s
12Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
13Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1 Lap
14Kevin MagnussenRenault1 Lap
15Jolyon PalmerRenault1 Lap
16Esteban GutierrezHaas/Ferrari1 Lap
17Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
18Rio HaryantoManor/Mercedes2 Laps
-Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/HondaGearbox
-Pascal WehrleinManor/MercedesBrakes
-Carlos SainzToro Rosso/FerrariSuspension
-Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/FerrariSuspension
1Nico Rosberg141
2Lewis Hamilton117
3Sebastian Vettel96
4Kimi Raikkonen81
5Daniel Ricciardo78
6Max Verstappen54
7Valtteri Bottas52
8Sergio Perez39
9Felipe Massa38
10Daniil Kvyat22
11Romain Grosjean22
12Nico Hulkenberg20
13Fernando Alonso18
14Carlos Sainz18
15Kevin Magnussen6
16Jenson Button5
17Stoffel Vandoorne1
18Esteban Gutierrez0
19Jolyon Palmer0
20Marcus Ericsson0
21Felipe Nasr0
22Pascal Wehrlein0
23Rio Haryanto0
3Red Bull/Renault140
5Force India/Mercedes59
6Toro Rosso/Ferrari32

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