THANK YOU, BAKU! The 2016 European GP snaked around the streets of Baku and produced a very dreary race. Image: AP / Luca Bruno
Cape Town - The 2016 European GP was predictable Mercedes-dominated race and lacked excitement seen in preceding races this season.
Still, there were enough moments for racing fans to enjoy.
The race, along the tight and twisty streets of Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, not only highlighted the sheer dominance of Mercedes' Formula 1 car but also that the racing gods can be fickle during the final stages of a race.
1. Perez owns Baku
Although it was Nico Rosberg who grabbed the winner’s spot at the European GP, it was Sergio Perez who wowed the crowed in Baku. Despite incurring a five-place grid penalty during qualifying, Perez started the race in seventh place and drove his Force India to finish in a very commendable third place.
Perez’s podium finish was his second in three races after taking third at the Monaco GP in May 2016.
2. Raikkonen is penalised
During the early laps of the 2016 European GP, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen crossed the white line at the pit entry.
This mistake led to the veteran receiving a five-second time penalty that he’d either have to serve during a pitstop or have it added to his time at the end of the race.
READ: Radio silence not golden for world champion trio in Baku
What made it frustrating for Raikkonen was that no matter how hard he tried, he could not be as competitive as team mate Sebastian Vettel, and on the final lap was overtaken by Perez.
Even if Perez did not overtake him, Raikkonen would still have finished fourth due to the time penalty.
3. Blistering Williams in the pits
1.92 seconds - that was all it took for Felipe Massa’s pit crew to change all four tyres on his car. The Williams team has been pretty consistent with regards to its pitstops, but in Baku the team equaled the record-time of 1.923s, previously set by former Red Bull driver Mark Webber at the 2013 American GP.
See Massa’s quick pitstop in the video below. Disclaimer: don’t blink!
4. Mercedes is untouchable
Nico Rosberg was untouchable in Baku. In fact, Rosberg and team mate Lewis Hamilton made easy pickings of the grid over the course of the entire weekend, but it was Rosberg who grabbed pole and ultimately raced to victory.
Were it not for technical issues affecting both Mercedes cars, Rosberg would have won by a much larger margin and Hamilton could have finished higher than fifth. Despite his technical issues, Rosberg managed to dictate the pace and set consistent lap times throughout the race.
READ: Rosberg wins first European GP in Baku
Ferrari is the closest rival to Mercedes in the Championship, but it is fair to assume, given its performance this year, that the Silver Arrows are set for another championship.
5. Toro Rosso retirements
For the first time in nearly a year, Toro Rosso suffered its first double did-not-finish (DNF) during a grand prix. Daniil Kvyat looked to deliver a strong performance, but his race came to an end due to suspension related problems. The race, however, went from bad to worse for the team when the sister-car, driven by Carlos Sainz Jnr, was also forced to retire with similar issues.
Kvyat qualified sixth with team mate Sainz down in 18th place due to a penalty.
The last time the team had to retire both cars was at the 2015 British GP.