Shanghai: Rosberg does it!
ROSBERG CHAMP IN CHINA: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg celebrates winning the 2012 Chinese F1 GP with (left) McLaren's Jenson Button and (right) Lewis Hamilton who were second and third respectively. Image: AFP
Shanghai, China - Mercedes' Michael Schumacher dropped out of the 2012 Shanghai F1 GP after an error in the pits lane meant his right front wheel was not correctly attached.
He pulled off the misty track, reporting by team radio to the pits crew: "I'm out of the race!"
It was the first shock of a race that was about to become an absolute classic of pits problems, superb overtaking and constant changes at the sharp end of the action. The race commentators could barely contain themselves...
WIN HOPES DASHED
Seven-times World champion Schumacher started the race alongside team mate Nico Rosberg - son of 1982 World champion Keke Rosberg - on the front row after qualifying third. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who was second
fastest, dropped to seventh on the grid because of a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.
Given the Mercedes' qualifying pace, Schumacher was looking forward to a potential win after a long, long drought.
Heikki Kovalainen also had wheel trouble in the pits - the crew couldn't complete a change and it initially appeared he was out of the race, but he rejoined, his race effectively over.
By lap 40 the lead order was Button, Rosberg, Massa, Raikkonen and Vettel - but Button went in for a tyre change, also had trouble with a wheel, and came back out running fifth. He was stationary for nine seconds.
Five laps later Button was back up to fourth and now Romain Grosjean was fighting up with the leaders, the order Rosberg, Raikkonen, Vettel, Button and Grosjean, all covered by 5.36sec.
FIRST WIN SINCE 1955
By now an already great race was turning into a stunner as some of the leaders' tyres began to fade and there was overtaking at a pace too fast to follow, with Hamilton pushing his way through the crowd. Lap 50 of the 56 race arrived and now the front five read Rosberg, Vettel, Button, Hamilton and Webber with the fight between Red Bull and McLaren now intense.
More hot racing followed, with the Red Bulls pushing each other for position, but at the end it was Rosberg (Mercedes) by 20 seconds from, Button (McLaren), Hamilton (McLaren) - to take the championship lead - Webber (Red Bull) and Vettel (Red Bull).
Rosberg's victory was the first by Mercedes, as a works
team, since 1955 when Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio won the
Italian GP from pole. Mercedes pulled out of F1 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.
"Brilliant race, Nico. Just brilliant," team principal Ross Brawn shouted over the team radio as the 26-year-old let out a long whoop of delight after taking the chequered flag.
HAMILTON ON 45
Britain's Jenson Button finished a distant 20 seconds behind for Mercedes-powered McLaren,; team mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton was third for the third race in a row to take the Drivers’ championship lead.
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.
Australian Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull with double World champion team mate Sebastian Vettel fifth after starting 11th, his lowest grid place since 2009.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean took his first points for Lotus with sixth, ahead of the Williams cars of Brazilian Bruno Senna and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado. - Wheels24, Reuters
Provisional result from the 2012 Chinese F1 GP
1 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1hr36min26.929
2 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren +20.626
3 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren +26.012
4 Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull +27.924
5 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull +30.483
6 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus +31.491
7 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams +34.597
8 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams +35.643
9 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari +37.256
10 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber +38.720
11 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber +41.066
12 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India +42.273
13 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari +42.779
14 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus +50.573
15 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India +51.213
16 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso +51.756
17 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso +1min03.156
18 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham +1 lap
19 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia +1 lap
20 Charles Pic (France) Marussia +1 lap
21 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT +1 lap
22 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT +2 laps
23 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham +3 laps
Retired: Michael Schumacher (Germany) +44 laps
Fastest Lap: Kamui Kobayashi,1:39.960, lap 40
Provisional Drivers' and Constructors' points
1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 45
2 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 43
3 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 37
4 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 36
5 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 28
6 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes GP 25
7 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 22
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Renault 16
9 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 14
10 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 9
11 Romain Grosjean (France) Renault 8
12 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 7
13 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 4
14 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 4
15 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 2
16 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India 2
17 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes GP 1
18 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 0
19 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 0
20 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 0
21 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Team Lotus 0
22 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Team Lotus 0
23 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT 0
23 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 0
1 McLaren - Mercedes 55
2 Red Bull - Renault 42
3 Ferrari 35
4 Sauber - Ferrari 30
5 Lotus - Renault 16
6 Force India - Mercedes 9
7 Williams - Renault 8
8 Toro Rosso - Ferrari 6
9 Mercedes 1
10 Marussia - Cosworth 0
11 Caterham - Renault 0
12 HRT - Cosworth 0