Racing in clear air, Rosberg set a blistering pace and by the mid point of the race, jst after his one and only stop to shed supersoft tyres in favour of a set of softs, he was more than 18 seconds clear of then second-placed man Kimi Raikkonen. From there it was a simply a case of managing his pace, staying clear of the walls and bringing his car home.
The potential stumbling block in Rosberg’s path came from a technical glitch that affected both he and team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The Briton was badly affected by issue, which his race engineer explained was a problem with mode he was in. Rosberg, though, was able to solve the problem.
Hamilton began the race in 10th position after a Q3 race but recovered well to rise to fifth before the technical problems began to affect him. He was unable to close on Perez and Raikkonen ahead and had to settle for salvaging 10 points from a troubled weekend.
Ahead, Perez had used his Force India’s Mercedes power unit and a one-stop strategy to great effect and in the closing laps he found himself chasing down Raikkonen. The Finn has risen as high as second in the race, passing team-mate Vettel with an undercut, but he later ceded the position back to the quicker German and then found himself fending off Perez. Raikkonen was also hit with a five-second penalty due to crossing the white line at the pit entry and while Perez was safe in the knowledge that with a 0.5s gap to Raikkonen he would take P3 in the classification, the Mexican was determined to take the position on the track. He managed it on the final lap.
With Hamilton fifth, Valtteri Bottas took a lonely sixth for Williams, ahead of the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Ricciardo started the race from P2 but while he held the position in the early stages he quickly went backwards following an early stop for soft tyres and then again when he took on medium tyres in a second stop. Verstappen was on a similar strategy and while he dropped to as low as P18 after starting in P9, both Red Bull drivers eventually began to climb back through the pack as their more durable tyres gave them an advantage of those on soft tyres at the end of a two-stop race. Nico Hulkenberg took ninth place for Force India, while Felipe Massa took a solitary point for Williams with tenth position.
Rosberg's victory extends his championship lead over Hamilton to 24 points, while Vettel closes the gap to second place to 21 points. Raikkonen is 15 points further back in fourth.
Grand Prix of Europe, Bacu 51 laps, 306.306km., Weather: Sunny. CLASSIFIED: P. DRIVER TEAM TIME/GAP 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG 1h32:52.367 2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari + 16.696 3. Sergio Pérez Force India + 25.241 4. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari + 33.102 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG + 56.335 6. Valtteri Bottas Williams + 1:00.886 7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull + 1:09.229 8. Max Verstappen Red Bull + 1:10.696 9. Nico Hülkenberg Force India + 1:17.708 10. Felipe Massa Williams + 1:25.375 11. Jenson Button McLaren + 1:44.817 12. Felipe Nasr Sauber + 1 lap 13. Romain Grosjean Haas + 1 lap 14. Kevin Magnussen Renault + 1 lap 15. Jolyon Palmer Renault + 1 lap 16. Esteban Gutierrez Haas + 1 lap 17. Marcus Ericsson Sauber + 1 lap 18. Rio Haryanto Manor + 2 laps Fastest Lap: Nico Rosberg - 1:46.485 NOT CLASSIFIED: DRIVER TEAM Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Pascal Wehrlein Manor Fernando Alonso McLaren After 8 races: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Nico Rosberg 141 1. Mercedes AMG 258 2. Lewis Hamilton 117 2. Ferrari 177 3. Sebastian Vettel 96 3. Red Bull 140 4. Kimi Räikkönen 81 4. Williams 90 5. Daniel Ricciardo 78 5. Force India 59 6. Max Verstappen 54 6. Toro Rosso 32 7. Valtteri Bottas 52 7. McLaren 24 8. Sergio Pérez 39 8. Haas 22 9. Felipe Massa 38 9. Renault 6 10. Daniil Kvyat 22 11. Romain Grosjean 22 12. Nico Hülkenberg 20 13. Fernando Alonso 18 14. Carlos Sainz JR. 18 15. Kevin Magnussen 6 16. Jenson Button 5 17. Stoffel Vandoorne 1