Once again, both Mercedes drivers were left going wheel to wheel at the first corner, although this time behind Sebastian Vettel got ahead of the pair of them. It didn’t end ideally for the team though, dictating the rest of the race for Nico Rosberg.
After Hamilton got a poor start, Rosberg was alongside his teammate on the run to the first corner. By this point Vettel was already in front of the pair of them. Hamilton on the inside had understeer on cold tyres, given that it was a cold day with little warm up that can be understood, but that meant he drifted wide and hit wheels with Rosberg.
Rosberg took decisive action, taking to the run off area and falling down the order. He was battling with the McLaren drivers at the end of the first lap – giving him a lot of work to do for the rest of the race. A late spin in front of Max Verstappen topped his afternoon with little reason to be upset.
The German said after the race, “Today’s race was really tough. Starting at the beginning, Lewis had a bad start, mine was decent and Sebastian got a super start. So, I was alongside Lewis and tried around the outside.
“I had to try the move or accept I’d be behind him. In Barcelona it worked but this time it didn’t. It was a hard maneuver from him but that’s racing and I need to do a better job next time. I lost a lot of places going down the escape road and that cost me a shot at the race.
“From there I did my best to fight back and I there was a chance of a podium – but then I got the puncture and had to pit again – dammit! I was pushing hard after that to regain the positions but it was a massive mission managing the car with brake warnings coming on and running low on fuel.
“It was a good battle with Max – again, on the limit but good racing. I tried everything to get past him and had a massive spin at the end.
“On that final lap I just about managed to drag it round for P5 ahead of Kimi, so a disappointing result as our car was awesome today but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’ve got two days at home now to get ready and go for it again in Baku.”