With his six consecutive grand prix victory, Nico Rosberg joined a small and very special group of F1 drivers.
In the 66-year history of the sport, just three other drivers have managed to win six in a row:
|Sebastian Vettel||9||Belgium 2013 – Brazil 2013|
|Alberto Ascari||7||Belgium 1952 – Argentina 1953*|
|Michael Schumacher||7||Europe 2004 – Hungary 2004|
|Michael Schumacher||6||Italy 2000 – Malaysia 2001|
|Nico Rosberg||6||Mexico 2015 – China 2016|
If Rosberg is going to extend his streak further he’ll need to win at Sochi – a venue where his team mate is unbeaten.
Rosberg has now won more races than any other non-championship-winning driver. This was his 17th career victory moving him ahead of Stirling Moss. However other drivers before him have held this record but gone on to become champions, something he is now in a strong position to do so.
This is the first time since 2004 that the same driver has won the first three races of the season. Having done so, Rosberg would make history if he went on to miss out on the title: Every other driver who began a season with three wins in a row became champion in that season.
Those drivers were Schumacher in 2004, 2000 and 1994, Damon Hill in 1996, Nigel Mansell in 1992 and Ayrton Senna in 1991.
However as this is the longest calendar ever in F1 history, Rosberg’s three wins represent a smaller percentage of the total points available than ever before. He is 36 ahead but there is 450 still to win.
It was a weekend to forget for Hamilton. Once his gearbox change penalty was announced his chances of extending his pole positions streak were doomed, and his power unit problem consigned him to a back-of-the-grid start. His eight-race streak of podium finishes, which began at Suzuka last year, came to an end.
Unusually there was only one Mercedes driver on the podium, earning the team its 100th podium appearance. They are the ninth team to reach a century of podiums, joining Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Lotus, Brabham, Red Bull, Benetton and Renault – the latter also on 100.
That opened the door for Daniel Ricciardo to take his fourth front row start, though he is still looking for his first pole position. Rosberg took his 23rd, moving him ahead of Fernando Alonso and leaving him just one shy of the top ten. As with Hamilton in the first two races, Rosberg failed to hold the lead at the start of lap one having started from pole.
Mercedes’ run of eight consecutive front row lock-outs came to an end. However Ferrari occupied the second row of the grid for the third race running.
Rosberg’s pole position lap time of 1’35.402 was 3.1 seconds slower than the course record, set by Schumacher in 2004. Unusually, the track record for this circuit was set during a race, not a qualifying or practice session. The fastest lap this year, set by Nico Hulkenberg, was 7.6 seconds slower than the record.
This was the second time Hulkenberg has set the fastest lap. He previously did so at Singapore four years ago. This was the fourth fastest lap for Force India – the others were achieved by Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez.
Daniil Kvyat reached the podium for the second time in his career, finishing third for the first time. It was a timely third podium finish for a Russian driver in F1 ahead of the country’s round of the championship.
Daniel Ricciardo became the fifth different driver to lead a race so far this year. He only led for two laps, but that’s one more than Hamilton has managed all season. Rosberg has been in the lead for 133 of the 170 laps raced so far (78.2%).
For the first time since the V6 hybrid turbo regulations were introduced in 2014, all of the cars which started the race saw the chequered flag.
This was the second-largest field to have a 100% finishing rate in an F1 race. All 22 drivers were classified, but at the European Grand Prix five years ago 24 cars started and finished.
Review the year so far in statistics here:
- 2016 F1 championship points
- 2016 F1 season records
- 2016 F1 race data
- 2016 F1 qualifying data
- 2016 F1 retirements and penalties
- 2016 F1 strategy and pit stops
- 2016 F1 driver form guides
Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Chinese Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.