Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Rosberg, Sergio Perez, Baku City Circuit, 2016

Rosberg takes pole after Hamilton crashes

2016 European Grand Prix qualifying

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Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for F1’s first race in Baku after an error-strewn session by Lewis Hamilton ended with a crash in Q3.

Rosberg will share the front row of the grid with Daniel Ricciardo after the Red Bull driver improved his lap time in a rbief, two-minute window of running after Hamilton’s crash brought out a red flag.

Sergio Perez set the second-fastest time but will be relegated to seventh on the grid due to a gerabox change penalty.


Rosberg was the quicker of the two Mercedes drivers on their first laps, edging Hamilton by a tenth of a second. He improved again on his subsequent run while Hamilton slipped up at turn 15 and had to reverse out of the run-off area.

Ferrari left their runs until late in the session but easily made it through. McLaren did likewise, though it didn’t work out for Jenson Button. A mistake at turn 15 meant he had to run again, and after catching car after car in the middle second he abandoned his lap.

He took 19th in the final order behind both Manors. Felipe Nasr made it into Q2 but the other Sauber of Marcus Ericsson failed to join him. He lowered his lap time with his final run but it was only good enough to demote Kevin Magnussen to the back row of the grid alongside Jolyon Palmer.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Rio HaryantoManor-Mercedes1’45.665
18Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’45.750
19Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’45.804
20Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’46.231
21Kevin MagnussenRenault1’46.348
22Jolyon PalmerRenault1’46.394


Rosberg lopped over a second off his lap time in Q2 and not a single driver got within a second of him as Hamilton narrowly avoided being eliminated in the second phase of qualifying.

The world champion lost time in traffic on his first run and had to return to the track on a third new set of super-soft tyres while Rosberg remained in the pits having only used two. A second error by Hamilton at turn seven while he lay tenth in the running order left him with a single shot to ensure he proceeded to Q3. He made it, but it was a near-miss and he will have to start tomorrow’s race with flat-spotted front tyres.

Nico Hulkenberg, who had looked strong in practice, saw his chances of reaching the top ten slip away. He spun at turn 16 on his first run and failed to take advantage of his final run after a miscommunication with the pit wall. Meanwhile Sergio Perez in the team’s other car secured a place in the top ten, though he will take a five-place grid penalty following a gearbox change after his crash in practice.

Fernando Alonso was unable to continue his run of Q3 appearances and like team mate Button he had cause to be frustrated at the traffic around the circuit as he returned to the pits.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’44.755
12Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’44.824
13Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’45.000
14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’45.270
15Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’45.349
16Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’46.048


Hamilton’s scruffy session continued in the final phase of qualifying and at first it seemed it might be to the detriment of both Mercedes drivers. He locked up again at turn 15, running wide and costing Rosberg time as he had to back off for yellow flags.

Remarkably, that wasn’t the end of it. As he began his final run Hamilton clipped the barrier at the inside of turn ten, braking his front-right suspension. His session was over and with it his chances of starting anywhere higher than tenth.

In the meantime Sergio Perez had set the provisional pole position time followed by the two Ferraris. The red flags came out so Hamilton’s car could be recovered but not before Rosberg was able to cross the line and move back to the top of the times.

With two minutes left on the clock there was still time for drivers to do a final run. Rosberg stayed in the pits but the Red Bulls headed out to improve their times along with the Williams and Ferrari drivers.

Daniel Ricciardo grabbed the leading position and used it to full advantage, setting a lap of 1’43.966 to move up to third behind Perez. Behind him Sebastian Vettel set an identical time to within one-thousandth of a second, but as Ricciardo set his time first Vettel will line up behind him. That also secured a front row start for Ricciarod due to Perez’s gearbox change penalty.

Max Verstappen could only manage ninth after twice coming across Valtteri Bottas, expressing his frustration on the radio after being passed by the Williams.

Top ten in Q3

1Nico RosbergMercedes1’42.758
2Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’43.515
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’43.966
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1’43.966
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’44.269
6Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’44.483
7Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’44.717
8Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’45.246
9Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’45.570
10Lewis HamiltonMercedes

2016 European Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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84 comments on “Rosberg takes pole after Hamilton crashes”

  1. For me that was one of the most interesting qualifying sessions I’ve seen. I’m not sure about the race yet but this track is perfect for qualifying, it’s a real challenge where the drivers can make the difference as evidenced by the mix up in the teams here.

    1. @glynh Indeed. I wasn’t putting my money on it, but it seems like a track where you have to get everything just perfect to get a good laptime, and if you don’t, you’re 1 second off the pace.

      Sadly the Mercedes are so good that they won’t have much troubles tomorrow. Even Hamilton, I expect him to be up to second before the first round of pitstops.

      Rosberg has this one in the bag if everything goes well. For what it’s worth, being good is also not making mistakes, and Rosberg has hardly done them this year, appart from Monaco’s lack of pace. Good it’s going his way again.

    2. The qualifying is rubbish! We need a new format!


      1. Great lap by ricciardo!!!

        1. Same as Vettel.

  2. Evil Homer (@)
    18th June 2016, 15:25

    Nice lap from Checo, he is in great form! Red next year???

    I would prefer the interviewer not say “If I can come on to you”, it makes Toto smile too much :)

    1. Evil Homer (@)
      18th June 2016, 15:33

      Daniel a better lap than expected – Go Aussie!
      Max not so good but he will race well!! A very old head on his young shoulders! WDC to come for him………. after Dan’s:)

      1. Max before The Grin even at his age. The Grin as all through his career bar 2014 tends to be out raced by his team mate after dominating in quali.

        1. Especially after Rb have undermined dans race

        2. Markp what aload of Rubbish!!!

          1. In my opinion the grin is not going to be a champion. Time will tell.

      2. david mcgrory
        19th June 2016, 3:41

        dans the best on the grid absolute class his q3 laps are something else

        1. Great qualifier but as his teammates have proved his racing falls short of his quali.

    2. Very happy to see that Williams start to be Q3 regulars!
      And Red Bull must have fantastic aero and engine tuning, when always at the front while the Renault works team is absolutely nowhere. Didn’t Renault just introduce a massive update to their own engine in Monaco? What happened…?

  3. That has to be one of the worst qualifying sessions I’ve seen Hamilton do. New tracks are normally where he is in the zone and from practice he looked set finding his feet quicker than Rosberg. Hats off to Rosberg as well for keeping a cool level head.

    1. Completely lost it, given he was fine and ahead in the practice sessions, must go down as his worst qualifying ever. Hubris punished maybe after his comments about other drivers.

      1. Yeah, he should have walked the track after all; he looks a bit stupid now. Even if the track walk makes no difference, as I expect it doesn’t, he looks silly for not doing it then crashing out.

        1. Yeah, Hamilton was quite vocal until the qualifying session started, saying:
          “These drivers, they moan so much about so many things. It is really bumpy down the main straight and you can’t really see Turn 1 that well, the car’s vibrating, it’s really hard, but that’s part of racing. These guys want it to be smoother than ever and no vibrations and no bumps. They want to take all the character and life out of these tracks. I’m glad that this has bumps, but I guarantee you there’s going to be some people who say those things… I’ll just sit there and smile.”
          Think it was especially Button (driver assoc. chair?) that had expressed concern about track and its condition, as well as Rosberg and several others. Though Rosberg did express that overall that “It is cool!”. Don’t know how Hamilton feels now and if he is sitting down smiling, but he has clearly his work for tomorrow cut out.
          Could become a really interesting race to watch, as it might even be less forgiving compared to the MC circuit and here in Baku they go much much faster!

          1. Rule of thumb. When acting like a jackass you run high risk of messing up when everyone is watching.

          2. Looked to me like the Force India pot crew was laughing at him. Doubt that would happen without the smug talk yesterday .

          3. david mcgrory
            19th June 2016, 3:43

            it was one bad session from lewis dont over react with the pace of the mercedes it will be poor if isnt 2nd they are so fast

    2. sunny stivala
      18th June 2016, 16:47

      according to one of the top tin foil hats of the British F1 media it was most likely the Baku sun.

      1. Hamilton denied it being anything to do with the sun… It’s a shame it’s such a favourable circuit for the Merc, unless the Force India’s and Williams cars will be able to hold him back on the overly long straight… The only other factor of issue will be safety cars and if the gp2 race is anything to go by, there could be a few…

        1. Canadian pigeons? Vettel put them there.

          1. I heard Grosjean hit some birds?

      2. david mcgrory
        19th June 2016, 3:44

        he got beat happens to the best from time to time

  4. What was bottas thinking? Ruined his ánd Verstappen Q3 twice!

    1. Didn’t understand it either. Bottas could have had a much better result if he judged his timing right. But to make the same mistake twice, that wasn’t very smart…

    2. How? Verstappen went wide the first time, noting to do with Bottas. Second time he just had to overtake the Williams on his out lap, for no reason at all.

      But most of all, Bottas was behind twice. How can the driver behind mess up the lap of the driver in front? It means Verstappen was slower than Bottas in the first place.

      1. You forget the factor of towing behind another car, it was the first corner, Bottas was in both laps to close behind for himself, side effect is he is ruining his lap and distracted Verstappen .. he should have known better.
        I think this shows why he will never be contracted by Ferrari, just not smart enough.

        1. Verstappen can be “distracted” by a cast behind him? What is he doing in F1 then?

        2. Lol, he is already signed for Ferrari next year.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        18th June 2016, 15:42

        tow – Bottas had a top speed of 366 (15kph faster than Mercedes)

      3. Verstappen went wide because of Bottas, not on his own.

    3. In Finnish news Bottas said his team informed him that Verstapped is doing 2 warm up laps.

      1. With 15 seconds left? Makes no sense.

        1. well i did not watch the qualifying myself but he was in the impression that verstappen is on warm up lap. Maybe this concerns about the first incident only?

          1. About the second incident he mentioned he just timed it wrong and once he was in the tow there was no time to back off. Shame for both but no malice.

  5. carbon_fibre
    18th June 2016, 15:27

    Appalling perfomance from Hamilton. You don’t expect a mistake like that from a three-times champion.
    Has anyone counted the amount of yellow flags we’ve had today and yesterday? Every other lap someone locked up his wheels and got off track.
    Annoying result for Ferrari. I think they showed more pace than Red Bull today, but got beaten due to Ricciardo’s track position.

    1. Evil Homer (@)
      18th June 2016, 15:40

      They all make mistakes Carbon, it doesn’t matter how great there are! Not his day today!

      You wont feel the same when he moves though the pack tomorrow, that said the Merc leads better than it follows it seems- but Lewis will move through, and its good watching !!

    2. Name a triple WDC how has not made a mistake.
      I can only assume you’ve not been watching F1 long, otherwise, you’d be experienced enough not to have make such a mistaken post……… ;)

    3. I’ve seen Senna, Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel, Prost all crash in races of their own accord so it happens.

      1. In fact, I bet Hamilton crashes more than any midfielder. It’s just his nature I guess and it gave him three tiles already.

      2. david mcgrory
        19th June 2016, 3:46

        hamiltons great but he is not as good as they names

        1. david mcgrory
          19th June 2016, 3:48

          sorry to qualify my statement he is not as good as michael or aryton . they 2 along with clark are head and shoulders above the rest

          1. Impossible to say. All I know is he is a very very good driver and an argument could be made he is the best current driver but then that can be argued about Vettel and Alonso.

    4. I think Red Bull has been consistently faster than Ferrari all weekend. If you looked at their Q2 and Q3 times, I think Ricciardo could have done an even faster lap since his time wasn’t much better than the one in former session. I think FI and RB are both faster than Ferrari somehow.

    5. I think Hamilton was caught out, like other drivers, by the dropping temperatures, as his tyres and brakes got away from him and he was over-driving trying to compensate.

      Of course, his stupid comments about not trying the course in the simulator and also how other drivers need to suck it up made him look worse – at least he put his hands up and admitted he screwed it all up at the end of the day.

      1. Yeah, I wonder if a course walk might have given him more respect for that downhill breaking zone.

      2. david mcgrory
        19th June 2016, 3:49

        i thought according to his fans lewis doesnt need practice that was an embatessing performace

  6. After seeing GP2 start, Kvyat-Bottas-Verstappen turn-1 crash looks very likely…

    1. Don’t forget Hamilton .. ask Nico about starting around him :)

    2. Epic start to come indeed!

    3. I agree. With the long pit straight I can see a few braking mistakes on the first entry to turn one.

    4. Hopefully Perez will keep out of trouble. Everything else than a top 5 finish would be a massive disappointment.

  7. Neil (@neilosjames)
    18th June 2016, 15:43

    Golden opportunity for Rosberg to take back some momentum… my memory isn’t perfect, but I’m fairly sure that was the worst session I’ve ever seen from Hamilton. And after practice, that was the last thing I was expecting to say.

    1. It looks as if Hamilton crossed that narrow line by trying just a bit too hard. All the FP and Q sessions showed how fast he can be when it all works, but it didn’t at the time when it counted.

      It’s a nerve racking circuit to watch, let alone drive.

      I’ve wondered about the Ferraris’ tactics so far. Taking it very carefully, no clipping of walls etc. They made it to 3rd and 4th, be it by default, so maybe hoping others will try too hard again tomorrow. Make sure the calm brain controls the limbs, not just the adrenalin, coz those walls fight harder than carbon fibre.

      1. The biggest hash may have been Q2, given the performance advantage, he just had to set a good pace on his final run and forget about beating Rosberg, while preserving his tyres for the race. Instead he fried them needlessly.

      2. I wouldn’t say Ferrari were 3 & 4 ‘by default’. Both of them were falling over each other trying to set up tows for the straights and Raikonnen spent just as much time in the run offs as Hamilton.

        They were also technically 4 and 5, but for Perez’s penalty.

  8. Interesting grid and should make for a decent start tomorrow.

    Nico should win it at a canter but I’m hoping Dan and Seb can get past at the beginning to make it exciting for a while.

    Lewis should bide his time during the race as I think that car is good enough for 2nd regardless of where he starts… Especially with the likelihood of safety cars. I have a feeling he’ll go balls to the wall on the first lap and bin it though.

  9. Sky already blaming ‘sunlight’. Isn’t it the same for everyone, I mean come on? I don’t think Hamilton would’ve been on pole even without the crash because his tires were flat-spotted.

    1. Everyone said sunlight (C4 & 5Live did too) because right at the moment Hamilton clipped the wall, the camera caught a lens flare from the setting sun. Of course, the cameras are set a good foot or two higher than the drivers head, so it’s not representative…

      Regardless, Hamilton said it wasn’t the sun, he just over-drove and clipped the wall, like Verstappen in the Swimming Pool at Monaco.

    2. Arnoud van Houwelingen
      18th June 2016, 23:40

      Hamilton already admitted it was not the sunlight that made him crash. Very honest of him to admit that.

  10. Good Job by Nico. Also interesting to see Seb and Ric clock the same time.

    While i was a fan of Nico Hulk , it is getting very clear why the team principals did not pick him. Over the last 2 years he did not stand much chance against Sergio who actually is a good driver. He never got the credit he is due. In fact Force india has a better Lineup than Williams today. Given a good car Sergio will knock things out of the park. TO me technically he is a better driver than Nico Rosberg !!!!!

    1. I actually believe that Force India has the fourth best driver line-up on the grid, not bad at all given their budget.

  11. With that Mercedes’ advantage, it was hard to see a more entertaining qualifying session! It was really good. Force India must be really angry, they were the second-fastest car but for Perez’s crash in FP3 and Hulkenberg’s poor driving in Q2 ended up seventh and 11th. Talk about wasted opportunity.

    1. @michal2009b At least consider that half the cars ahead of them are running Renault or Ferrari power, so they must fancy their chances of making up time on the straights easily.

  12. It seems Lewis Hamilton didn’t do the walk after lots of talk about other drivers and his preperation for a weekend, even a world champion should keep his feet on the ground till the season completes.

  13. Matthew coyne
    18th June 2016, 16:56

    Really poor session for Hamilton but no criticism from me, he owned up said it was his fault didn’t try to make any excuses (unlike the pundits trying to use the sun as an excuse for him which he dismissed) not sure what more you could want to be honest under the circumstances. People blaming the lack of a track walk or simulator time are talking rubbish to be honest it’s not like he has been off the pace all weekend.

    All the greatest drivers have had bad sessions at times but should make for an awesome race.

    I still think he could win it to be honest if he keeps his nose clean at the start. The pace advantage they have is so much bigger than anywhere else we have seen for several seasons and it should make overtaking so easy down the long straight with DRS and slip stream, on the long runs he was quicker than Nico and we know he can make his tyres last when he needs to as per Canada so it’s certainly possible – He probably needs a quick starting Ferrari to help him out at the start.

    1. Agreed, Hamilton could definitely come through to the front in race tomorrow. Will be exciting to see no matter what, as clearly this unforgiving track will claim its victims. Surprising to see how Rosberg posted his pole lap 0.75 sec faster than second placed. That is a massive difference in ‘modern’ F1. Must have the been the absolute perfect lap?

  14. Has there been no mention of track limits this weekend? I’ve just watched Nico’s on-board pole lap and he’s clearly outside the track limits at turn 12. I saw plenty of other drivers using all the road there as well throughout Q3.

    1. @markthornton90 the stewards don’t have a lot of data about the track to make anything beyond educated guesses about what is abuse and what is drivers finding the appropriate lines for the corners.

  15. I don’t see how Hamilton gets to change tyres without a penalty as his tyres were ruined by him. If a gearbox needs changing penalty. Flat spot your tyres you can change? Anyway all his supersoft are flat spotted, if there’s a safety issue it should be a penalty for a change or pit at the end of the 1st lap. As he now has no undamaged supersoft and gets to change penalty free he will have to use soft and medium in the race?

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      18th June 2016, 22:34

      I don’t understand this either. If he starts on them, then that is fine to me. He’ll just have to pay the price for what he did to them. If there is a safety issue, then I really do think he should get some kind of penalty as all other drivers in the top 10 will have to start on a used pair. Like you say, they get penalties for gearbox changes so I don’t see why he shouldn’t get one for this unless he starts on them.

      If the case turns out that he gets to start with a new pair of tyres, then unless some penalty is added, I think that will be pretty unfair. If the penalty didn’t go ahead, then no matter how silly this seems, all the drivers that know they have finished in the top 10 of Q2 may as well try to lock up their tyres before going back to the pits so they can get given a new pair for the start of each race.

      That is why I think he should get at least some kind of penalty if he doesn’t start on his Q2 tyres.

      1. William Jones
        19th June 2016, 0:30

        The point is, he won’t get a new pair, he will get one of his other tyres, of the same type – US that has done more laps – safe, but still a penalty

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          19th June 2016, 10:38

          Yes, I think that is fair so long as it is a pair he has done several fast laps on.

  16. digitalrurouni
    18th June 2016, 20:01

    Wow shocking performance for Hamilton! What the heck!!! I thought given his past few sessions’ performances he would have had it in the bag!!! As a fan I am bummed! But it’s great for the championship chase that is for sure!!!!

    1. It fits with the theme of this season so far, it’s not the driver/team with the stellar performance who wins, it’s the driver/team who don’t screw up.

      I’ve seen a few people write, “he only had to beat Webber”, or “he only had to beat Roseberg”. This season could be, “He only had to beat Hamilton “

  17. Some days ago Sergio was talking about how the track appeared while using the simulator, so it appears he did a lot of practice, and if so, then second place is proof this circuit rewards homework.

    1. Hans van Voonebosch
      18th June 2016, 21:21

      Yeah and interesting that Sergio Perez actually does homework nowadays. Only last year Peter Mucke (a former boss of his) called him an ‘unprofessional slob’. Perhaps a bit comparable to Button who was called a ‘lazy playboy’ once by Briatore, but also acquired some work ethic when he matured.

    2. Really? I though Force India has no simulator?

  18. A weekend of “pouty” Hamilton to look forward to.

  19. I can’t help but think that race control waited for Rosberg to finish his lap before retiring the red flag. This secured his pole, which clearly was deserved, but it made it very tricky for everyone else. A red flag was obvious given where Hamilton was parked, and they could have red flagged the session 20 seconds earlier, which would have made the last lap a lot less crazy. It just doesn’t seem right.

    1. I just checked my recording: the yellow flag for Hamilton appears at 2:36 remaining, and we see him parked already at 2:30 remaining. Rosberg is then allowed to finish his lap, and only a few seconds after he crosses the line, red flags are shown at 2:05 remaining. Red flag should have been shown at least 20 seconds earlier. (Note that I think Rosberg earned that pole, but I don’t think it is right to compromise the qualifying of 8 others just for Rosberg.)

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