Rosberg cruises to victory in Azerbaijan

Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:12pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

BAKU (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg won the first Formula One grand prix held in Azerbaijan on Sunday to turn the championship tide and stretch his lead over frustrated Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton to 24 points.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was runner-up, 16.6 seconds behind, with Force India's Mexican Sergio Perez on the podium for the second time in three races after overtaking Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari on the last lap.

Rosberg started on pole position, led all the way and also set the fastest lap as he chalked up a fifth win in eight races this season. With 13 rounds remaining, the German has 141 points and Hamilton 117.

"It was a special feeling out there in the car because it felt like I could do whatever I wanted. The thing would just stick to the line, stick to the ground, there was no risk of making mistakes or anything," said Rosberg.

While his cruise in the late afternoon sunshine turned out to be something of a snooze for the global television audience, triple world champion Hamilton provided more entertainment.

The Briton, who had been chasing his third win in a row but finished fifth, sounded increasingly frustrated over the radio as he wrestled with his car's settings without the team being able to help because of a clampdown on 'driver aids'.

The problem eventually resolved itself.

"This is ridiculous guys, I don't know. I'm looking at my dash every five seconds trying to find a switch in the wrong position," Hamilton said over the team radio.   Continued...

Formula One - Grand Prix of Europe - Baku, Azerbaijan - 19/6/16 - Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg (R) of Germany celebrates winning the race next to second placed Ferrari Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany.  REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov