Sunday was a wheel-to-wheel F1 thriller, but the sport’s newest winner Nico Rosberg was surprisingly untouchable in Shanghai.
“Did you even have to overtake any cars?” he was asked by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton afterwards. “No!” Rosberg replied.
More than 100 races after his 2006 debut, but just a day after taking his maiden pole, the German had just collected Mercedes’ first works win in more than half a century.
“When we last won,” team boss Ross Brawn grinned on British Sky television, “I was one year old!”
Brackley based Mercedes, whose predecessor Brawn GP won the world championship as ‘Brawn GP’ in 2009, had just confounded the doubters by winning despite having struggled desperately with tyre wear so far this season.
“Nico was stunning in qualifying yesterday and superb today,” David Coulthard said on BBC television.
When asked about Mercedes’ apparently radical turnaround since Malaysia three weeks ago, Rosberg admitted: “We really struggled with race pace in the first races, so it’s great to see how quickly we’ve progressed.”
The secret appears to been car setup only, with the 2012 generation of Pirelli tyres particularly finicky when it comes to the ‘operating window’.
“We got it exactly right today,” said Mercedes reserve driver Sam Bird.
Agreed former grand prix winner Johnny Herbert: “Bang! — they hit it (the window) today.”
Behind the matchless Rosberg, it was an exciting and close Chinese grand prix.
“That was one of the greatest races I’ve seen for a long time,” Hamilton’s father Anthony agreed.
Despite Rosberg’s win, Hamilton snr was more than happy with Sunday’s result, as his son is now leading the drivers’ standings by two points from the sister McLaren of Jenson Button.
“I think he (Hamilton) is ready for the new challenge of taking on another championship,” the McLaren driver’s former manager Anthony Hamilton added.
© RIF | GMM