Rosberg wins eventful Chinese Grand Prix

2016 Chinese Grand Prix summary

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Nico Rosberg extended his perfect start to the 2016 season by comfortably winning the Chinese Grand Prix ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Daniil Kvyat.

The Mercedes driver crossed the line more than half a minute ahead to take his sixth consecutive victory and extend his championship lead to 36 points over Lewis Hamilton, who finished seventh.

A chaotic start saw Daniel Ricciardo leap into the lead off the line ahead of Rosberg but there was contact between the two Ferraris in the long first turn with Vettel running into Kimi Raikkonen after Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull charged down the inside of the Ferraris.

This started a chain reaction with cars swerving to avoid the recovering Ferraris, with Hamilton collection Felipe Nasr’s Sauber, leaving Raikkonen and Hamilton to recover to the pits with no front wings.

Ricciardo’s lead was short lived, as the Red Bull driver suffered a sudden left-rear tyre failure along the back straight on lap four, gifting Rosberg the lead and bringing out the Safety Car for debris.

When the race resumed, Rosberg disappeared into the distance to cruise to an easy win, while Vettel, Hamilton, Ricciardo and Raikkonen all began to charge back through the field.

Despite a broken front wing, Vettel scythed his way up the ranks, finally relieving Kvyat for second in the later stages. Daniel Ricciardo also recovered to fourth, with Raikkonen also made his way up to fifth.

After changing his strategy multiple times, Lewis Hamilton struggled to pass Felipe Massa’s Williams and ended up crossing the line in seventh.

Remarkably, despite all the contact, there were no retirements in the race.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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45 comments on “Rosberg wins eventful Chinese Grand Prix”

  1. No One Better (@)
    17th April 2016, 9:05

    I wonder sometimes about these Mercedes strategist. The guy is running 3rd. If I can figure out sitting in my couch that track position is more important and the fact that Mercedes is capable of lapping themselves into a free pit stop, why the hell make Hamilton pit and drop him into traffic? Who cares about meeting compound usage at that point in the race. No matter what tire they uses he won’t be able to finish the race on it. In the end he still ended up just holding on without any grip left.

  2. exciting: Vettel was right – it was Kvyatt’s fault – if Vettel had not swerved Kvyatt would’ve hit him. And embarrassing for Ham not to be able to pass Massa and very good drive of Ricciardo and Kimi when they passed first Ham, then Massa.

    1. Racing incident. Vettel did not close the door enough, it was wide open. If you don’t go for a gap … :)

      1. @spoutnik Suzuka 1990 wouldn’t have happened :)

      2. If You always go for the gap, You won’t make it through any full race, unless You are running last anyways. The “If You don’t go for a gap…” quote from Senna, was a bad excuse for a clearly too optimistic charge, which was deemed to fail. Vettel’s sharp reaction and anger is, of course, also caused by the fact that he regrets that he didn’t hold his line, which would have put the blame for the inevitable contact on Kvyatt, because he blocked his front wheels -or at least one of them at the end of his braking. – And this fact is why I agree with Vettel in this case.

      3. Exactly. and the same reason why Bottas should never had gotten a drive trough and points off his license the last race on Ham. Racing incident. Ham left too much of a gap and look what happened next. Don’t think the situation would have gone the same way in reverse though, ie: drive through and points off the license.

    2. No vettel wasn’t. Kvyat had every right to be in that spot. I am sure if he sees the replays, he will adjust his opinion.

    3. I know that Vettel’s popular but you need to stop making excuses for him. The way that he was whining and crying at Kvyat for no reason was not cool. Vettel left too much room into the first corner and Kvyat did the right thing and took the opportunity. Racing incident 100%.

      1. MG421982 (@)
        17th April 2016, 10:16


      2. “I know that Vettel’s popular but you need to stop making excuses for him.”

        @ultimateuzair Haha, that made me laugh. He’s liked a lot more now he changed overalls but his fanbase is nowhere near those of Kimi, Hamilton or Button. Without reason, but to each his own.

    4. Kyvat was if anything the least to blame. Kimi was too slow in turn one, boxing Seb in. Vettel left too much room for Kyvat, and hit Raikkonen while taking avoiding action. Racing incident.

    5. I took think Kvyat’s move resembles the one from Bottas on Lewis in Bahrain. Kvyat was either too optimistic or too nasty because he believed Seb had to bail out but he forgot there was another car and both Ferraris lost out.

      Watching on TV, I thought Seb was trying to be funny but I quickly realized he was really mad at Kvyat who was very composed in the end.

    6. Actually, Kimi lost his wing in a collision with Kvyat, Vettel just nudged him a bit. Don’t believe me? Watch the replay!

  3. A 36 point gap after 3 races without a retirement? Imagine if Hamilton retires in the next race. Rosberg will have a 61 point gap! Rosberg is in the best position possible to win this championship. Let’s just see if he does an Alonso in 2012 and loses a 39 point lead in 2 races.

  4. Ricciardo for DOTW? No one else really shone this weekend.

  5. Toto just mentioned Hamilton having quite a lot of damage to the barge board area following the front wing coming off so it’s another race he’s had to run with restricted race pace.

    Rosberg on the other hand having all the luck. It’s quite a big points gap now already and unless that luck swings back towards Hamilton I don’t know if he he’ll have enough to make it up.

    Again a great start to the race with a lot of excitement, but when all the important places are pretty much decided by the halfway point it really detracts from the overall race.

    I just hope both Mercs and Ferraris make it out of the first lap in tact in Russia.

    1. Looking at Hamilton’s current deficit to Rosberg, which is 36 points, he would need to win 6 more races than Rosberg (assuming Rosberg comes in second) to overtake him in the points.

      1. Pretty sure Hamilton did it in 2014 @drycrust. Off course if Rosberg hits engine trouble or something and gets a DNF, the difference will be down to 11 points again, so it can go up and down fast.

        1. The corollary is, of course, that Hamilton could have the forced retirement, and starting last was pretty close to not starting.

  6. A couple of things:

    1. Strategy is not Mercedes’ best asset. When they pit Lewis for mediums, they seemingly only looked at the short term benefit (undercutting Kimi) and completely ignored the long-term cost of severe tyre wear at the end of the race. They put him on the same S-S-M strategy (after the SC) as his leading teammate, but the only problem was that he wasn’t in clean air. Zero creativity.

    2. When the Ferrari’s collected each other at the start and subsequently Ricciardo’s tyre blew up I knew that Rosberg was never going to lose this race. Seriously, absolutely everything fell on his lap in the first few laps alone. Speaking of Nico, he is racking up a huge amount pole positions and race wins in his career for a driver who I still believe will never win a WDC.

    3. Ricciardo is the driver of the weekend for a stunning job in qualifying and his great recovery drive to 4th despite his tyre puncture. In fact, Ricciardo has been the best driver of the season so far. He is consistently maximizing the potential of his car in both qualifying and in the race. He’s the only driver to do that so far IMO.

    1. I think that for Mercedes at that time it was still not quite clear how much damage there was to Hamilton’s car. I saw some pictures of what the tray, bargebords etc looked like and that would have made the car quite a handfull and putting extra strain on the tyres as well.

      The car just was not able to do the kind of times and make the tyres last, so it was a bit of working half blind for them guessing what to do. But I agree that they have not shown themselves to be the best at improvising and making the best of things strategy wise.

    2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      17th April 2016, 10:26

      Completely agree. Ricciardo has been magnificient this season. I really hope Red Bull keep developing this car and give him something he can chase wins with.

    3. Rosberg probably had the luckiest race he ever had. Not only his teamate at the back but the two Ferrari getting in a mess and then the guy in-frond him being removed by tyre blowout.
      Is like every single car that could have troubled him was eliminated by the rage of God or something lol.

  7. Great race! Gotta love every detail of it, fantastic performace by so many drivers. I say Kimi had a horrible start and that’s as much a cause of the collision as Vettel’s surprise and Kvyat’s challenge. But a fine comeback from him, nevertheless. Too bad for Ricciardo, this could have been much more. Just wow.

  8. According to Wikipedia, this is one of just 6 F1 races where all the cars that started the race finished it as well. The others were the 1961 Dutch GP, the 2005 US GP, the 2005 Italian GP, the 2011 European GP, and the 2015 Japanese GP.

    1. @drycrust 2005 US GP is kinda bit of fad tho…

      1. @sonicslv I agree with you, 6 cars starting out of 20 is exactly meritorious, but it is part of F1 history, hence it should be included.

        1. Doh! … I meant to write “…6 cars starting out of 20 isn’t exactly meritorious …”

        2. @drycust Haha, yes I know. It was a joke.

    2. Nasr retired in Japan last year (but was still classified). @drycrust

      1. @mike-dee My apologies, I think I would have excluded the 2015 Japanese GP if I was aware of the retirement when I posted that comment, but it comes down to how you define a race without retirements, and the authors of that article say it includes those that have completed 90% of the racing distance.

        1. @drycust I don’t think you’re wrong since completing 90% of the race is still classified by FIA records, unless we strictly talking about cars that crossed the finish line ;)

  9. MG421982 (@)
    17th April 2016, 10:20

    Great, happy for him. I really hope he wins the title this year. There’s no doubt, already, that ROS or HAM in the WDC and Mercedes in the WCC will win the champs.

  10. Thought it was a great race overall, and the only thing it missed was someone battling Rosberg for the win. Few other thoughts –
    Ricciardo was the DOTW for me, and I thought both Ferrari drivers were sub par for most of the weekend despite great recovery drives. Kvyat got a little lucky but did a good job nonetheless. Haas finally struggled on a weekend after getting it absolutely right for the last two race weekends. Mclaren and Honda engineers should be ashamed of themselves for their absolutely appalling pace this weekend. Williams really have fallen back to the 4th quickest team this year.

    1. MG421982 (@)
      17th April 2016, 10:51

      Indeed, Williams is on a constant downfall since 2014. Very probably that has something to do with how the good Mercedes’ engine was compared to Ferrari and Renault in 2014… or viceversa. But, as I said already, they still have the best engine overall under the bonnet, so no sweat for them in 2016 if they did best by keeping a Mercedes engine for their car… and not a Renault or Ferrari engine. 2017 could be different tho: Mercedes might not be the best engine anymore. Anyway, to me, Williams’ problem is everything but the engine.

  11. For Rosberg that race was just like a walk in the park. Propably today he was the only driver who was cruising the whole race. He did nothing special, only take advantage of his pole and his strong car.

  12. Hmm, when was the last time all cars finished a race?

    1. The last time all drivers were classified was in Japan last year, but the last time all drivers actually finished the races as well was in Valencia 2011.

      1. ”a race”

  13. Nico is still collecting important points. I don’t want to take anything away from him but he’s getting a free run so far (not his fault) because his contenders are either making too much mistakes or just getting unlucky.

    1. Rosberg deserves it because he does indeed consistently qualify in one of the two top-spots at the front. Today he also made a very decent get-away when the lights went out and then nurturing his tires enabling a safe and solid cruise home to the flag and win.

  14. Why does everybody keep saying that Rosberg’s recent streak of race successes is due to ‘luck’?

    During his tenure with Mercedes he has shown to be a skilful driver and has combined that with great raw qualifying speed. He has never hung his head and submitted himself as “only a nr.2 driver”, even though he had to cope with Schumacher first and, now, Hamilton as his teammates AND even though he has lost 2 consecutive championships to a superior Hamilton. I mean the guy has won 6 consecutive races now! What more can you ask from a guy who has been vilified by most of the die-hard Hamilton fan-base for being to slow, to weak and not a capable driver.

    Yes, he has had things going his way recently, but don’t forget that he didn’t start the first 2 races from pole position, he didn’t botch up his starts (although his China start wasn’t great) enough to get himself into trouble and he is just keeping he’s cool at the moment.

    I say: Go Rosberg, keep your focus, make your father proud and keep on streaking. The racing is good enough behind you to keep the masses entertained for a while. kudos!

    1. +1
      Nico absolutely deserves what he is getting. The guy has always been good. That is one of the reasons why I rate Hamilton highly. Nico is not an easy guy to beat.
      Dude has won all the races from Mexico since last year. If he wins the next one, making it 4 times in one season, then the championship is his to loose.
      Luck is always a part of racing. No racing without luck and definitely no championship victory without good fortune.
      All championship victories are full of whatifs so this one will not be different.

  15. I also agree that seeing Nico growing despite having been used as a doormat by Hamilton for the most of 2 seasons is very impressive. Hopefully he will secure us an exiting season.

  16. To everyone saying Nico’s had no challengers so far i don’t think Lewis had too many last year either so stop knocking the guy.
    Yes Lewis caught up and won in 2014 but let’s not forget that Nico was hung out to dry after the Spa incident which i think dented his confidence Abu Dhabi that year was double points and Nico had the good grace to carry on racing to the end with a sick car.
    I’m a fan of neither but some fans are so biased towards their driver that they only see what they want to see and not the true picture. Nico is a very good driver as are all the drivers despite what people think about them. A true F1 fan give them all some credit for what they do.

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