Rosberg wins first ever Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg has secured his first ever Formula One race win in dominant fashion. While his closest competitors had trouble in the pits or abandoned, Nico stayed out of trouble and won the race comfortably. Jenson Button finished second, Lewis Hamilton third.
The 2012 Chinese GP today gets away with Nico Rosberg on the pole position for the first time ever. Michael Schumacher is aside of him, follwoed by Kobayashi, Raikkonen, Button, Webber and Hamilton.
Jean-Eric Vergne starts from the pitlane after the team chose to change some parts on his car.
As the lights went out, Rosberg got away off the line like a bullet, easily maintaining first place. Michael Schumacher kept second place while Jenson Button had a great start and moved up to third. Raikkonen maintained fourth while Hamilton is 5th.
Kobayashi dropped to to 6th, just ahead of his teammate Sergio Pérez. Behind the Saubers Alonso fought all through the first lap with Mark Webber, changing positions repeatedly before somewhat settling ahead of Webber in 8th place.
Sebastian Vettel meanwhile, after starting from 11th fell back even more and is only 14th at the end of the first lap.
6 laps into the race it is obvious Red Bull do have quite a problem as their top speed is simply not high enough to be threatening to the car in front. One lap later Mark Webber is pitting early, changing from the softer tyre to the medium compound.
At the end of lap 9 several other drivers make their first stops as well, including Kobayashi, Vettel and Hulkenberg. The latter complained earlier that he had a sudden increase of understeer.
At the front meanwhile, Rosberg is 5 seconds ahead of his teammate. Schumacher has litle more than a second in harnd over Button who on his behalf is shadowed by Raikkonen, Hamilton ande Pérez.
At the end of lap 10, Hamilton and Raikkonen come in simultaneously. Hamilton is out first, still on the option tyres. They rejoin the track in the path of Webber, costing Raikkonen yet another place to the early-stopping Red Bull.
On lap 13, Schumacher pits, as well as Alonso, but half a lap later the German is off the track as his right front wheel was not fitted properly during his pitstop. Rosberg stopped one lap later, returning to the track in third place, ahead of his main rivals but behind Pérez and Massa as they have not pitted yet.
Apart from Hamilton, all front runners have switched to the medium tyres. Pérez also makes the switch on lap 17. Massa continues, but he started on the medium tyre.
The Ferrari does seem to be more at ease on the medium tyre anyway, as since the pitstop Alonso is closely following Webber and Raikkonen. While the three of them are very close together, no one gets close enough on the long straight to attempt a clean pass.
The Sauber cars at the same time are moving backwards. Kobayashi is unable to follow the pace of Alonso ahead of him while he starting to hold up Grosjean. Pérez also made a slight mistake on lap 20, allowing an easy pass by VEttel, who is now 9th.
On lap 22 Webber pits again and make Raikkonen and Alonso happy. Both men were being held up by Red Bull. Webber rejoined the track in 14th place and immediately posts the best lap of the race so far.
Hamilton meanwhile also pitted and changed his second set of options for a set of prime tyres. He comes back on track just behind Massa and also just ahead of Mark Webber. In fact two laps later Hamilton has still not passed the Ferrari.
Jenson Button also pitted and rejoined the track behind Meldonado. He managed to pass him quickly, but then there's Bruno Senna and Pérez and Vettel up the field, making this a bad pack to be in if one attempts to gain track position.
On lap 28 Alonso then also pitted, changing to a set of option tyres. 3 laps later Vettel pits and takes on a set of primes after getting passed by Button one lap earlier.
On lap 35 Rosberg pits and comes back on track in second place, ahead of Pérez, Hamilton and Alonso but behind Jenson Button.
2 laps later, after Pérez finally decided to pit after badly flat spotting his left front tyre, Hamilton moves up to third, closely followed by Alonso who can easily keep, likely thanks to the difference in tyres. The two pit simultaneously on lap 39 and get back on track in the same order. They have been fitted with prime tyres and look set to go to the end of the race. After the stops, they are 10th and 11th.
2 laps later Button is in but has an extremely slow stop as his team had trouble fitting the left rear wheel. Button came back on track behind the pack Massa, Raikkonen, Vettel, Grosjean.
On lap 45 Alonso ended up on the tyre marbles and slightly off track when attempting to pass Maldonado. Instead, Pérez was able to pass the Ferrari instead. One lap later though Maldonado and Grosjean tangled together, holding up Pérez and allowing Alonso to pass the Mexican again.
On lap 48 Raikkonen has the same issue as Alonso a few laps earlier. He runs wide in the faster left hander of the circuit, ended up in the marbles. Vettel moved up to second, and one lap later Raikkonen is only 8th after running 2nd for a large part of the race. It appears the Finn's tyres have simply run out, as he is going nowhere anymore.
In fact another lap later he is passed by both Saubers on the 1km straight.
4 laps from the end, it's clear Raikkonen was holding everybody up, allowing Rosberg to easily manage his tyres. Button is second after passing Vettel on the straight thanks to DRS. Hamilton is 4th, Webber 5th. Grosjean is 6th, followed by Senna, Maldonado and Alonso.
2 laps from the end Hamilton also passes Vettel. The World Champion is a sitting duck as he needs to fight DRS while at the same time hitting the limiter due to his 7th gear seemingly being too short for this circuit. Antoher lap later Webber does the same thing to Vettel.
Meanwhile, Rosberg was in the lead of this GP for most part of the race and can secure his first ever race win after more than 100 races without wining anything.
|1||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||56||Winner||1||25|
|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|
|Ret||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||12||+44 Laps||2|