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Updated: April 16, 2012 01:35 IST

Memorable maiden victory for Rosberg

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THRILLED! Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg celebrates his first ever win after taking the Chinese GP on Sunday.
THRILLED! Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg celebrates his first ever win after taking the Chinese GP on Sunday.

The win marks Mercedes's first triumph as a works team since 1955

Germany's Nico Rosberg celebrated the first victory of his Formula One career with a commanding pole-to-flag win for Mercedes in China on Sunday.

While the son of 1982 champion Keke sprayed the champagne to mark the end of a 111-race wait, the German manufacturer rolled back the decades to savour its first Grand Prix success as a works team since 1955.

“Unbelievable. It's been a long time coming for the team also,” he said.

“It's finally there. It's amazing. I didn't expect to be this fast today. I was very happy with the entire race.”

“Brilliant race, Nico. Just brilliant,” yelled team principal Ross Brawn over the radio as the 26-year-old let out a long and loud whoop of delight after taking the chequered flag.

Britain's Jenson Button finished a distant second for Mercedes-powered McLaren, 20.6 seconds behind.

Button's teammate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton third for the third race in a row to take the championship lead.

Hamilton on top

Hamilton now has 45 points after three races to Button's 43. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who had led before Shanghai, finished ninth and dropped to third overall with 37.

Rosberg's victory was the first by Mercedes, as a works team, since 1955, when Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio won that year's season-ending Italian Grand Prix from pole.

Mercedes pulled out of Formula One as a works team in 1955 and did not return, other than as an engine partner, until 2010 after buying the title-winning Brawn team.

While Rosberg celebrated, drenching Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug in champagne on the podium with the eager assistance of Button and Hamilton, there was disappointment for teammate Michael Schumacher.

The seven-time World champion, winner of a record 91 races, had started alongside Rosberg on the front row but the 43-year-old's hopes of a first podium appearance since he was at Ferrari in 2006, disappeared on lap 13 after a pit-stop.

Technical trouble

To the despair of the mechanic on the front right wheel, Schumacher was given the signal to go before the nut was attached properly.

He rejoined the race before having to pull off and retire.

“The front wheel got a bit loose, but I don't know what happened. I feel a bit sorry for one of my boys, but that's part of the game,” said Schumacher philosophically.

Button's hopes of a second win in three races were also dashed in the pits when the crew struggled with the rear left, losing vital seconds, at his third and final stop.

Webber fourth

Australian Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull with double World champion teammate Sebastian Vettel fifth after starting 11th, his lowest grid placing since 2009.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean took his first points for Lotus with sixth place, ahead of the Williams cars of Brazilian Bruno Senna and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.

Sauber's Japanese Kamui Kobayashi took the final point for Sauber in 10th.

Force India misses out

Sahara Force India missed out on points for the first time this season with Paul di Resta finishing 12th and Nico Hulkenberg 15th.

The results:

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1hr, 36mins, 26.929sec, 2. Jenson Button (McLaren) +20.626, 3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) +26.012, 4. Mark Webber (Red Bull) +27.924, 5. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) +30.483, 6. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) +31.491, 7. Bruno Senna (Williams) +34.597, 8. Pastor Maldonado (Williams) +35.643. 9. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) +37.256, 10. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) +38.720, 11. Sergio Perez (Sauber) +41.066, 12. Paul di Resta (Force India) +42.273, 13. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) +42.779, 14. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) +50.573, 15. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) +51.213, 16. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) +51.756, 17. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) +1:03.156 18. Vitaly Petrov (Caterham) +1 lap, 19. Timo Glock (Marussia) +1 lap, 20. Charles Pic (Marussia) +1 lap, 21. Pedro de la Rosa (HRT) +1 lap, 22. Narain Karthikeyan (HRT) +2 laps, 23. Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham) +3 laps. DNF: Michael Schumacher (Mercedes).

Drivers' standings: 1. Hamilton 45pts, 2. Button 43, 3. Alonso 37, 4. Webber 36, 5. Vettel 28, 6. Rosberg 25, 7. Sergio Perez 22, 8. Raikkonen 16, 9. Senna 14, 10. Kobayashi 9, 11. Grosjean 8, 12. di Resta 7, 13. Vergne 4, 14. Maldonado 4, 15. Ricciardo 2, 16. Hulkenberg 2, 17. Schumacher 1.

Constructors' standings: 1. McLaren 88 points, 2. Red Bull 64, 3. Ferrari 37, 4. Sauber 31, 5. Mercedes 26, 6. Lotus 24, 7. Williams 18, 8. Force India 9, 9. Toro Rosso 6.

Bad luck Vettel.

Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 09:24 IST
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