Sunday, 15 April 2012

Brilliant Rosberg wins at last in China

Nico Rosberg won the Chinese Grand Prix in dominant style to take his first ever race win with a super drive, as Lewis Hamilton takes the lead of the championship.

After six years of waiting, Nico Rosberg has finally won his first race. Rosberg converted his first pole position into his first win with a dominant and almost comfortable display. Rosberg won by more than 20 seconds ahead of Jenson Button, who came second. Lewis Hamilton was third and now takes over the lead of the world championship.

Rosberg made a perfect start
Rosberg made the perfect start, getting away brilliantly to not only maintain the lead but extend it. Schumacher kept second and made sure everyone else was at bay. Kamui Kobayashi had a poor start from third on the grid, which allowed Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen to take third and fourth. Hamilton dived past Kobayashi at Turn Six, as did his team mate, meaning the Japanese driver was now down to seventh. Mark Webber had another below-par getaway, and spent the first lap battling with Fernando Alonso. By the end of the lap they had passed and re-passed each other, meaning Alonso was ninth and Webber tenth at the end of Lap One. Rosberg made a brilliant escape in the early laps, soon opening up a three second lap over his team mate. However, Button just couldn't get within range to activate the DRS on Schumacher.

Romain Grosjean got his first F1 points today
Webber made an early stop in a bid to regain some of the places he lost at the start. He went onto the medium compound and though he came out 20th, he was seriously fast, matching Rosberg's pace even when overtaking cars. This meant lots of others came in just to keep the Australian behind. Hamilton followed Raikkonen in on Lap 11, but came out just ahead. They raced down to Turn One, and Webber came in between the two of them. Button and Grosjean were in on the next lap. Schumacher was the first of the Mercedes drivers to come in on Lap 13 from 2nd place but as he left the pit box one of the mechanics was gesticulating furiously that the car went too early. He was right - the wheel wasn't fixed properly and Schumacher ground to a halt. Rosberg came in which handed the lead to Perez, whose stop wasn't good - he left the pit box very timidly and lost out to Kobayashi and Grosjean. This handed the lead to Massa but soon enough Rosberg regained it, breezing past via DRS. The McLaren drivers occupied second and third, but dropped down the field when the second round of stops started. Webber came in on Lap 22, and the McLarens soon followed suit.

Button's chance of victory was killed at his third stop
Once Button got some clear air after he and Hamilton got past the traffic, he began to chase down Rosberg. he took huge chunks out of the lead - 2 seconds on Lap 34, cutting the gap to around 12 seconds. This forced Rosberg to finally make his second stop. Button was on a three-stopper while Rosberg just a two, but with fresher tyres Button was in a good position for the win. However Button's third and final stop cost him a potential victory. The left rear was very slow to go on, and the stop was nine seconds. It also left him in the midst of a titanic battle for 2nd place, amongst two stopping drivers. He was fifth behind Massa, Raikkonen and Vettel and ahead of Grosjean, Webber and Senna.

Raikkonen had a horrendous finish to the race
Massa came in but Kimi Raikkonen tried to finish the race on his tyres and avoid a stop. This turned out to be a big error as Vettel and Button made their way past the struggling Lotus. But Webber, who had already had a frightening moment where he took too much kerb and was briefly airborne in an incident similar to Vitaly Petrov's in Malaysia last year, ran wide at turn eight and allowed Hamilton through, and he took Raikkonen at the hairpin. Grosjean and Alonso were the next to demote him before Raikkonen's team mate Grosjean then took Senna for sixth place. With five laps left Button was in range of Vettel and made a successful move at the hairpin for second place. Two laps later Hamilton did the same thing, before Webber attacked his team mate and took him on the straight.

No-one was stopping the almighty Rosberg today
Rosberg took a dominant and ultimately straightforward first race win with a very strong drive. Jenson Button was 2nd but will feel a chance of victory was thrown away with his pit stop. Hamilton took another third place and with it the lead of the championship. Webber was fourth and Vettel fifth, while Romain Grosjean took his first F1 points with sixth. Senna was seventh and Maldonado was eighth. Fernando Alonso finished ninth after a tough race which ended with a mistake when he went on the marbles. Kobayashi took the final point but will be annoyed having started third. Perez, Massa and Raikkonen finished outside of the points while Schumacher was the only retirement.

Another great race in this crazy Formula One season, congratulations to Nico Rosberg on a fine maiden victory.

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