Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took his maiden Formula 1 victory with a dominant drive in the Chinese Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg celebrates his win in China with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. [Photo:Sina.com]
After claiming pole in his 111th grand prix on Saturday, Rosberg enjoyed a relatively smooth ride in winning the Chinese Grand Prix, even after losing team-mate Michael Schumacher early on after a pit-stop error.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Rosberg said. "It's really nice to see how quickly we are now progressing. We didn't expect to be that fast today."
A titanic battle for second place ended in favour of Button, who headed team-mate Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton takes the lead in the driver standings with 45 points, two ahead of Button. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari is third with 37 points, followed by Webber (36) and Vettel (28). Rosberg moves into sixth with 25.
This year's Mercedes has a reputation for shredding its tyres over a race distance, but cooler temperatures played into the team's hands and Rosberg was able to pull away at his leisure. With no immediate pressure from behind, the German was able to look after his rubber and made only two tyre stops while most of his main adversaries plumped for three.
Rosberg had a buffer during the early stages, with Schumacher sitting a few seconds behind, but the seven-time world champion dropped out moments after his first pit stop because he rejoined before his front right wheel had been properly secured.
Despite his comfortable advantage, Rosberg's victory owed a little to good fortune: Jenson Button looked set to challenge the leader, but a sticky left-rear wheel delayed his final stop and dropped the Englishman into traffic.
Rosberg got off to the best possible start in China.
"I think I lost nine to 10 seconds, which is a pity because when I exited the pits I had four cars ahead of me I wouldn't have been racing. Otherwise I would have had a nice, clear track," Button said.