Rosberg takes maiden F1 victory15/04/2012 - 10:02:08
Nico Rosberg took the chequered flag for the first time in his Formula One career today to give Mercedes their first victory since the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio in 1955.
After claiming pole in his 111th grand prix on Saturday, Rosberg enjoyed a relatively smooth ride in winning the Chinese Grand Prix, even after losing team-mate Michael Schumacher early on after a pit-stop error.
Behind the 26-year-old German, however, it proved to be a real battle for the other placings, with Jenson Button claiming second ahead of McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton has now taken over leadership of the drivers' standings by two points from Button - 45 compared to 43 - with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso third, eight points adrift.
Rosberg and the Mercedes team were ecstatic as he crossed the line 20.6secs clear of Button, with Hamilton 5.3secs further down the road at the Shanghai International Circuit.
The hopes of a double for Mercedes in the race, however, came crashing down on lap 14 within moments of Schumacher's first pit stop.
It should have been routine, but instead Schumacher was released when the front-right nut had seemingly not been fitted correctly, the member of the pit crew in that position slapping the ground in frustration once the seven-time champion had pulled away.
Just 30 seconds later Schumacher was trundling off the circuit, the disappointment obvious in his voice as he said: "Nothing I could do guys. Out of the race."
With Rosberg running away with it at the front, the closing laps were a frenetic affair, with Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen dropping like a stone on worn tyres, finishing 14th after running second with five to play.
It was a similar story for Sebastian Vettel as he too was up to second late on, but in quick succession he was overtaken by Button, Hamilton and Mark Webber to wind up fifth, albeit improvement on his starting position. Roman Grosjean claimed sixth spot for Lotus.
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