Belfast Telegraph

Lewis Hamilton lets rip at F1 chiefs as Rosberg cruises to Baku victory

By Ian Parkes

Lewis Hamilton has accused Formula One's rule-makers of making the sport "dangerous" after the recently-introduced radio ban hampered his fightback in yesterday's European Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who finished only fifth on the sport's inaugural visit to Azerbaijan, reported a lack of power with his Mercedes from as early as lap four.

But after the FIA, the sport's governing body, introduced a new set of radio regulations on the eve of the new campaign - in the hope of placing more emphasis on the driver rather than the pit wall - Mercedes were forbidden from informing Hamilton how to resolve the problem.

The world champion then spent 12 laps, at a new track which has been billed as the fastest street circuit on the calendar, fiddling with different buttons and knobs on a steering wheel which has hundreds of different settings.

Hamilton, now 24 points behind his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg who cruised to his fifth victory of the season in Baku, was asked how it felt as he attempted to resolve the issue while racing at speeds in excess of 220mph.

"Dangerous," he replied. "I am just looking at my steering wheel for a large portion of the lap - all the way down the straight - just looking at my wheel.

"All the team can tell me is that there is a switch error, so I am looking at every single switch thinking, 'Am I being an idiot here? Have I done something wrong?'

"I hadn't. The engine switch has 16 positions, and in those positions there is like 20 positions, so I had no idea what the problem was and how to rectify it."

For Rosberg, he is unlikely to have experienced an easier and more dominant victory.

"It has been a great and awesome weekend," he said.

"Everything went cleanly from the beginning to the end.

"It was a special feeling in the car because it felt like I could do whatever I wanted and the car would just stick to the ground, so there was no risk of making a mistake."

Sebastian Vettel finished second for Ferrari.

Leading final positions after Race (51 Laps): 1 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1hr 32mins 52.366secs, 2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:33:09.062, 3 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:33:17.607, 4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:33:25.468, 5 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:33:48.701, 6 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:33:53.252, 7 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:34:01.595, 8 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:34:03.062, 9 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 1:34:10.074, 10 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams 1:34:17.741

World Championship Standings after European Grand Prix

Leading Drivers: 1 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 141pts, 2 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 117, 3 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 96, 4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 81, 5 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 78

Manufacturers: 1 Mercedes GP 258pts, 2 Ferrari 177, 3 Red Bull 140, 4 Williams 90, 5 Force India 59, 6 Scuderia Toro Rosso 32, 7 McLaren 24, 8 Haas F1 22, 9 Renault 6, 10 Sauber-Ferrari 0, 11 Manor Racing 0.

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