Rosberg takes win six after thrilling China race
There was drama aplenty in Sunday’s 2016 Formula Pirelli Chinese Grand Prix, but Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg kept it all behind him to secure his sixth successive F1 victory, winning comfortably from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat.
|3||DANIIL KVYAT||RED BULL RACING||+45.936s||15|
|4||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING||+52.688s||12|
|8||MAX VERSTAPPEN||TORO ROSSO||+79.268s||4|
|9||CARLOS SAINZ||TORO ROSSO||+84.127s||2|
After leading early on before suffering a puncture, Daniel Ricciardo came through to consolidate a good day for Red Bull with fourth, followed by the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and Williams’ Felipe Massa.
Lewis Hamilton, who started last for Mercedes after his qualifying woes, came through a battling afternoon which featured five pit stops to finish seventh, just ahead of the Toro Rossos of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top ten, with all 22 cars completing the race.
It was Red Bull who led into Turn 1 at the start, Ricciardo getting the jump on polesitter Rosberg from P2 on the grid. On row two, however, the Ferraris made relatively poor getaways – and in their bid to recover, Raikkonen and Vettel collided in Turn 2.
It dropped Vettel to eighth and left Raikkonen heading back to the pits for a new nose. But there were further consequences. Hamilton lost his front wing after contact with Felipe Nasr, as the Sauber driver tried to avoid the melee. Similarly Romain Grosjean damaged his Haas’s nose on the sister Sauber of Marcus Ericsson.
Up front, despite starting on the slower soft tyres, Rosberg was soon pressuring Ricciardo for the lead. But the pass came easily on lap three, thanks to a right-rear puncture for the Australian – which mercifully occurred shortly before the pit entry.
A lap later, the track littered with debris from Ricciardo’s tyre and earlier incidents, the safety car was deployed, prompting the bulk of the field to pit for fresh rubber. When it came in at the end of lap eight, Rosberg headed an unlikely lead pack, featuring Williams’ Felipe Massa, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein, none of who had stopped.
From there on in, Rosberg was never troubled and it was his rivals who had to battle their way back through the pack to secure their points. After finishing over half a minute clear of the recovering Vettel, he extends his championship lead to 36 points over Hamilton, with Ricciardo a further three adrift.