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Nico Rosberg took his first win ever in Formula One as he dominated the Chinese Grand Prix and gave his team its first win since Mercedes returned to the sport as a factory team. The last victory from Mercedes had been back in 1955 at the Italian GP, with a win from Juan Manuel Fangio.
Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton completed the podium in Shanghai ahead of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
After having led the race in the previous two years but then fade down the order, this time Rosberg held to his position of a very intense race where the variety of tyre strategies created a leading pack that at some points was formed by a dozen of cars. The strategies varied from two and three stops but also between longer and shorter stints.
Although Mercedes suffered some problems handling its tyres during the first two races of the season, this time around the team managed well the rubber, with Rosberg being able to make just two visits to pits, maintaining him in front of the pack for most of the race action.
His team-mate didn’t have the same luck. Nico Rosberg pulled away from Schumacher in the opening laps, creating a four seconds lead. But Schumacher’s lead battle would end soon with an incorrectly fitted right-front wheel in his first pitstop forced him to retire.
From then on Button became Rosberg’s main threat. He jumped up to third right at the start and his three-stop strategy was being successful, until the Rosberg’s second stop where he recovered the pace, before Button had a left rear wheel issue at his final pitstop.
For sometime Kimmi Raikkonen drove in second place, with a two-stop strategy, but having drove in his third set of tyres revealed to be too much and the Finn, fell to 14th place in just 5 laps.
Vettel opted for a similar strategy but he did better than Raikkonen. Yet he failed to hold on to second position, being overtaken by both McLaren’s and his team-mate Mark Webber that were running on fresher tyres, finishing in 5th.
Raikkonen’s team-mate, Romain Grosjean, opted for a different strategy, with two stops. After a long second stint the French driver won the battle for sixth place against Williams duo, Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna.
Previous championship leader Fernando Alonso didn’t go further than 9th having lost time after a little ground running off-track as the Spanish driver was trying to pass Maldonado.
Sauber couldn’t repeat the results of last race, Kamui Kobayashi had a poor start and would finish in 10th ahead of his team-mate. Felipe Massa had yet another another disappointing result finishing back in 13th.
|2||3||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+20.6 secs||5||18|
|3||4||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+26.0 secs||7||15|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||56||+27.9 secs||6||12|
|5||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||56||+30.4 secs||11||10|
|6||10||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||56||+31.4 secs||10||8|
|7||19||Bruno Senna||Williams-Renault||56||+34.5 secs||14||6|
|8||18||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||56||+35.6 secs||13||4|
|9||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||56||+37.2 secs||9||2|
|10||14||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||56||+38.7 secs||3||1|
|11||15||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||56||+41.0 secs||8|
|12||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||56||+42.2 secs||15|
|13||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||56||+42.7 secs||12|
|14||9||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||56||+50.5 secs||4|
|15||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||56||+51.2 secs||16|
|16||17||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||56||+51.7 secs||24|
|17||16||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||56||+63.1 secs||17|
|18||21||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham-Renault||55||+1 Lap||19|
|19||24||Timo Glock||Marussia-Cosworth||55||+1 Lap||20|
|20||25||Charles Pic||Marussia-Cosworth||55||+1 Lap||21|
|21||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||55||+1 Lap||22|
|22||23||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||54||+2 Laps||23|
|23||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham-Renault||53||+3 Laps||18|
|4||Mark Webber||Australian||Red Bull Racing-Renault||36|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||German||Red Bull Racing-Renault||28|
|12||Paul di Resta||British||Force India-Mercedes||7|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||German||Force India-Mercedes||2|
|23||Pedro de la Rosa||Spanish||HRT-Cosworth||0|
|2||Red Bull Racing-Renault||64|
V 8 (90º vee)
146 cu in
Fuel consumption (combined)
annual ownership cost