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The Mercedes driver brought the German team its first Formula 1 success since Fangio’s win at the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.
Mercedes-Benz won its first Formula 1 race since 1955 as a works team when Nico Rosberg raced to his maiden F1 victory at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai this past weekend. It is currently his seventh season on the circuit and his 111th attempt. He has now equaled the record of his father, Keke Rosberg, of one F1 win. For his dad it was enough to secure a World Championship title in 1982. However, the younger Rosberg will have to do much more than that in order to win the crown.
Rosberg's win means that three drivers from three teams won the first three races of the season, while top contender Lewis Hamilton has won none. This implies that there will be a wide open and unexpected season. Roseberg started the race from pole position alongside his teammate Michael Schumacher, who qualified third but enjoyed promotion to the first row following a gearbox change to Lewis Hamilton's McLaren. That demoted the British driver five places down the grid. Rosberg had a perfect start, leading into the first corner and he never looked back.
However, there were a few moments of uncertainty arose following the good pace of the McLaren cars and the different race strategies the two teams adopted. Rosberg was on a two-stopper while McLaren, his main rival, were on three-stoppers. Red Bull and Ferrari were on three stoppers as well, but never were never true challengers for victory this time. Schumacher in the second Mercedes was probably on a three-stop race strategy, but a failure to properly secure his left rear wheel during the first pit stop lead to his retirement on lap 16.
Jenson Button was the faster of the two McLarens and was on course to challenge Rosberg towards the end before a poor pit stop forced him to settle for second. Hamilton finished third, for the third race running. This has now put him into the lead of the world championship with 45 points ahead of Button and 43 points ahead of Alonso, who finished 9th with 37 points. World Champion Sebastian Vettel came home fifth after starting from 11th on the grid after he was overtaken towards the end by his teammate Mark Weber, as his tires were losing their vitality.
Roman Grosjean in a Lotus finished 6th, his best ever race result and a sort of compensation for the first two poor races he had. Williams teammates, Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado, scored 14 points for their team by finishing 7th and 8th respectively in another good show for the rejuvenated team. Alonso came home 9th and said after the race: "This is probably a most realistic position than what we saw in Australia or Malaysia especially." Kamui Kobayashi in a Sauber grabbed the last point for 10th place. "This is a very special moment for me. The whole weekend went perfectly," Roseberg said after he got off the podium.
"My first pole position, now my first win in Formula One - it really is fantastic. But it's not only this; it's the first win for the new Silver Arrow and for this great team. That is really special for me."