Another week, another Formula One race, another Mercedes win. The 2016 European Grand Prix held the promise of excitement as it was the debut of the unfamiliar Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan. Alas, all drama left after approximately the third lap – depending on how long you could stay awake – as Nico Rosberg paraded his Mercedes 51 times around the circuit to remind you how dominant Mercedes still is.
Rosberg started on the pole and after successfully negotiating the first turn of the race, was never challenged again as he sped off into the sunset for the next two hours. Behind him, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took a few more laps, about five or so, to eventually lay claim to second place, and he was never challenged for that position. So the entire “drama” of the race revolved around who would claim third place and the final position on the podium – and even that was made anti-climactic when Sergio Perez of Force India passed a flailing Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari on the last lap [who would have incurred a five-second penalty for a pit lane infraction earlier in the race and ceded his position anyway]. The only entertainment value for this race was listening to the radio transmissions of Lewis Hamilton as he struggled to figure out how his car worked and trying to count how many self-congratulating “Well Done Baku” signs there were in place of actual race sponsors. Ah, dictatorships – Bernie so loves them and their money. With little to no competition, Rosberg, Vettel and Perez easily win the points for this week’s race.
The competition was even nonexistent for the Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award as this year’s overwhelming favorite – Russian Hitman Daniil Kvyat – was out of the race after a mere seven laps. That left nobody for him to hit and with targets unavailable, the award has to go to Raikkonen for incurring the five-second pit lane penalty which ultimately cost him a spot on the podium.
The Kimi Raikkonen “Leave Me Alone! I Know What I’m Doing!” Award most assuredly has to go to Hamilton who quite pointedly did not know what he was doing for 80% of the race, resulting in him finally telling the pit the equivalent of pushing all the buttons in his car – “I’m going to try and change everything.”
The Lewis Hamilton Doofus Moment of the race is a slam dunk. While the nutjobbery-inspiration of the “Well Done Baku” signage is a strong candidate, nothing can win in the face of F1 chief crusty barnacle Bernie Ecclestone when words are allowed to form in his shriveled brain and somehow escape from his mouth again. This week, Ecclestone was in midst of praising of the garden spot of the world, Azerbaijan, when, oops, there was a sewage malfunction in the brain again and he referred to North America as a “shithole” in comparison to captivating and enchanting Azerbaijan. Sigh.
2016 ASN Formula One Driver Rankings [after European Grand Prix]
1] Nico Rosberg – 15 points
2] Sebastian Vettel – eight points
3] Lewis Hamilton – six points
4] Fernando Alonso/Sergio Perez/Kimi Raikkonen/Max Verstappen – three points
8] Carlos Sainz, Jr. – two points
9] Valtteri Bottas/Jenson Button/Romain Grosjean/Daniil Kvyat/Stoffel Vandoorne – one point
The Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award [after European Grand Prix]
1] Kvyat – two points
2] Alonso/Bottas/Hamilton/Hulkenberg/Raikkonen/Rosberg – one point
The Kimi Raikkonen “Leave Me Alone! I Know What I’m Doing!” Award [after European Grand Prix]
1] Raikkonen – two points
2] Button/Hamilton/Kvyat/Ricciardo/Rosberg/Vettel – one point
The Lewis Hamilton Doofus Moment Award [after European Grand Prix]
1] Bernie Ecclestone/Hamilton – three points
3] F1 Stewards/Ricciardo pit – one point