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Rediff.com  » Sports » F1 PHOTOS: Rosberg wins in China for first victory

F1 PHOTOS: Rosberg wins in China for first victory

Last updated on: April 15, 2012 15:40 IST

F1 PHOTOS: Rosberg wins in China for first victory

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Germany's Nico Rosberg celebrated the first victory of his Formula One career with a commanding pole-to-flag win for Mercedes in China on Sunday.

While the son of 1982 champion Keke sprayed the champagne to mark the end of an 111-race wait, the German manufacturer rolled back the decades to savour their first Grand Prix success as a works team since 1955.

"Brilliant race, Nico. Just brilliant," yelled team principal Ross Brawn over the radio as the 26-year-old let out a long and loud whoop of delight after taking the chequered flag.


Image: Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany celebrates on the podium
Photographs: David Gray/REUTERS

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Button, Hamilton follow Rosberg

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Britain's Jenson Button finished a distant second for Mercedes-powered McLaren, 20.6 seconds behind, with team-mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton third for the third race in a row to take the 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.

Rosberg's victory was the first by Mercedes, as a works team, since 1955, when Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio won that year's season-ending Italian Grand Prix from pole.

Mercedes pulled out of Formula One 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.


Image: McLaren Formula One driver Jenson Button (left), team-mate Lewis Hamilton (right) and Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg spray champagne at each other
Photographs: Petar Kujundzic/REUTERS

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Disappointment for Schumacher

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While Rosberg celebrated, drenching Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug in champagne on the podium with the eager assistance of Button and Hamilton, there was disappointment for team-mate Michael Schumacher.

The seven times World champion, winner of a record 91 races, had started alongside Rosberg on the front row but the 43-year-old's hopes of a first podium appearance since he was at Ferrari in 2006, disappeared on lap 13 after a pitstop.

To the despair of the mechanic on the front right wheel, Schumacher was given the signal to go before the nut was attached properly. He rejoined the race before having to pull off and retire.

"The front wheel got a bit loose, but I don't know what happened. I feel a bit sorry for one of my boys, but that's part of the game," said Schumacher philosophically.


Image: Mercedes Formula One driver Michael Schumacher of Germany looks at monitor
Photographs: Tim Chong/REUTERS

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Button loses vital seconds in the pits

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Button's hopes of a second win in three races were also dashed in the pits when the crew struggled with the rear left, losing vital seconds, at his third and final stop.

-Rosberg scores first victory in Chinese GP

Australian Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull with double World champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel fifth after starting 11th, his lowest grid placing since 2009.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean took his first points for Lotus with sixth place, ahead of the Williams cars of Brazilian Bruno Senna and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.

Sauber's Japanese Kamui Kobayashi took the final point for Sauber in 10th.


Image: Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany is sprayed with champagne during the podium ceremony
Photographs: Aly Song/REUTERS

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