The Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg led from pole position and never looked back, as he took his first Formula 1 victory at the 2012 China Grand Prix. This victory by Rosberg is hugely significant as it is Mercedes first victory since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix with five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio. The race is also very important commercially as China is the third biggest car market for Mercedes after the USA and Germany.
Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton emerged second and third in the race. Few would have predicated Sebastian Vettel lack of pace throughout the weekend. His Red Bull team mate Mark Webber made an audacious move on the last lap to finish higher than the young German.
Vettel went on to say: “I had no tyres left at the end of the race. Sitting in the car, I was reacting with brake balance, diff, everything to try and keep the tyres. We were generally too slow on the straights, and we're losing time there; it made it difficult to pass other people. But overall, I'm pretty happy with fifth given the poor first lap. I missed out on the start."
The Ferrari team were down beat at the start of the race after Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa had a less than impressive qualifying sessions. The team lead the championship coming to China after winning in Malaysia, although a low-key ninth place finish put an end to their run of good luck.
Alonso went on to say: “Obviously, this does not leave me very optimistic for Bahrain, on a track where traction and speed are vital, exactly the areas where we are weakest.”
Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi had a bad start: “I'm not really sure what happened at the start, my car just didn't move. It was a bit strange” he said.
Michael Schumacher’s hopes of a second place finish were ruined by a pit-stop error. As Schumacher left the pit after a stop, a mechanic started to wave his arms in a bid to stop him as the locking bolt was not fitted correctly, but the German was gone and minutes later Mercedes confirmed: "Michael's wheel was not fitted properly at the stop leading to his retirement."
Looking disappointed, though not angry, Schumacher said: "The front wheel got loose. We need to check why and exactly what happened.”
Schumacher will want to make up for this costly error at the next race. All being well the team will be on the grid on the 22nd of April in Bahrain.