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F1 European GP: Driver ‘respect’ helps avoid expected GP2-style carnage

Jenson Button says the 'respect and understanding' between the F1 drivers - compared to GP2 - was the reason for such a trouble-free Baku GP.
Jenson Button says 'respect and understanding' between the F1 drivers led to a largely trouble-free inaugural European Grand Prix to be held at the Baku City Circuit, even though most drivers agreed they were surprised to see barely any incidents.

With the tricky high-speed Azerbaijan street circuit proving difficult to master during free practice and qualifying after nearly every driver experienced an off-track moment, the race was expected to throw up similar incidents, not least after two chaotic GP2 encounters beforehand.

However, Button says the GP2 mayhem is likely to have played on the minds of the F1 drivers at the start of their race as they were urged to be on their best behaviour.

“We saw incidents in the feeder series (GP2) but that's because they're feeder series,” said McLaren's Button. “To get up to F1 you have to be very good in other categories and stay out of trouble.

“Feeder series is all about trying to impress to get the jump to Formula One, so it's completely understandable that there are more incidents, whereas in Formula One there's more respect and a bit more of an understanding. But it was actually a fun race and I enjoyed it.”

Race winner Nico Rosberg was also surprised to have such a quiet afternoon, not least because any safety car period ending down the lengthy home straight would have always put his track position under threat.

“Amazing. I have no idea. I'm surprised. I was expecting a safety car at any moment and I was overtaking some back markers and they were all over the place, locking tyres and everything. I was like 'guys, come on keep it easy, don't mess up now please'.”

Indeed, Lewis Hamilton admits he was banking on safety car periods and incidents to help his charge from tenth on the grid, but he was disappointed not to have had a 'fun race'.

“I was expecting a fun race like GP2, but obviously it wasn't like that,” he added. “I guess everyone was surprised but everyone obviously drove well.”

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by Ollie Barstow

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