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Rosberg takes his first in China



31 MAR - 03 APR 2016


Pole Position:

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 1:35.121 = 206.301 km/h


Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 1hr 36m 26.929s


Jenson Button (McLaren Mercedes)


Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes)

Fastest Lap:

Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber Ferrari), 1:39.960 = 196.314 km/h, lap 40

“Very,very cool”: the Chinese Grand Prix in 10 quick bytes

1. A stunning third round of the 2012 World Championship produced a third different race-winner – and a first-timer in Germany’s Nico Rosberg. Rosberg, 26, is the 103rd driver to feature on the long list of Grand Prix winners since the series began at Silverstone in 1950 and the first Mercedes driver to record a Grand Prix victory since the incomparable Juan Manuel Fangio in 1955.

2. Like the great Argentine at Monza that season, Rosberg controlled the race from pole position – also the first of his F1 career in the weekend of his 111th race start. And as in 1955, it was an all-Mercedes front row – but Michael Schumacher’s dreams of a first win since Japan in 2006 evaporated when his right front wheel was incorrectly attached at his first stop and the seven-time champion became the race’s first and only retirement.

3. “An unbelievable feeling,” said Rosberg, “very, very cool.” Nico was born in June 1985 – the same year in which the Rosberg name last graced the F1 winners’ list when his father, 1982 World Champion Keke, won the first Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide on November 3 in a Williams-Honda. “It’s been a long time coming – for me and the team,” said his son, “but it’s nice to see how quickly we are progressing now.”

4. The podium finishers were all powered by Mercedes. Jenson Button, who started as many people’s favourite to win, also fell victim to a poor pit stop when a problem at the rear of his McLaren held him stationary for almost 10 seconds. The Melbourne winner recovered to beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished third for the third straight time in 2012 and now leads the drivers’ standings.

5. Fourth, also for the third race running, was Mark Webber, who was the first of all the drivers to pit for fresh tyres and used a three-stop strategy, pitting on laps 6/21/34. Webber passed team-mate Sebastian Vettel on the final lap to claim 12 more points. Now fourth overall, Webber said: “The pace of our car is okay on Sundays; it’s Saturday afternoons that we need to improve.”

6. Vettel opted to two-stop and looked likely to be on the podium until his tyres began to suffer in the final three laps. He was passed by Hamilton and then Webber on the run to the chequered flag. On Saturday the double World Champion had been outqualified by Webber for the third time this season.

7. While Rosberg bolted away, behind him there was racing everywhere through the 24-car field as 2012 shapes up to be a vintage year. Malaysia winner Fernando Alonso could do no better than ninth for Ferrari, with team-mate Felipe Massa doing nothing to ease the pressure on his place by finishing out of the points once more.

8. Romain Grosjean at last scored his first World Championship points when he brought his Lotus home in sixth place, in marked contrast to team-mate and former World Champion Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn was in the hunt for a swag of points until the final few laps when his tyre strategy failed spectacularly and he dropped like a stone from fourth to 14th.

9. While Sauber were unable to match their headline-grabbing performance in Malaysia, Kamui Kobayashi claimed a personal best grid position of fourth, which became third when Hamilton took his five-spot penalty, then the feisty Japanese driver claimed his first-ever F1 fastest lap on lap 40.

10. Dan Ricciardo endured a difficult weekend in the Toro Rosso, qualifying a lowly 17th after a promising first day’s practice and also finishing 17th. “A lot of teams have progressed this week and we don’t seem to be one of them,” said Ricciardo ruefully.

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