Sunday was a wheel-to-wheel F1 thriller, but the sport's newest winner Nico Rosberg was surprisingly untouchable in Shanghai.
Jenson Button finished second in his McLaren-Mercedes, 20.6 seconds behind. His teammate Lewis Hamilton finished in third, 26 seconds behind the winner.
The win is the first for Mercedes as a constructor since 1955.
Mark Webber in the Red Bull-Renault was fourth, his teammate Sebastian Vettel was fifth, followed by Romain Grosjean in the Renault in sixth, Bruno Senna in the Williams-Renault in seventh, his teammate Pastor Maldonado in eighth, Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari was ninth and Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber-Ferrari was in the final points position in tenth.
"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.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Rosberg said. "Very cool, very happy, very excited, and it's been a long time coming for me. And for the team also; the past two years and a bit and now it's finally there so it's just amazing. It's just really nice to see also how quickly we are now progressing. I didn't expect to be that fast today, I expected that we had a good chance to be in front but I'm very happy with the pace that I was able to go in the race."
Rosberg said that the key to managing the tires more efficiently was simply a case of Mercedes perfecting its setup.
"Big thanks to the whole team because all the engineers especially in the last few weeks have been working very hard also, as everybody else has. It's just improving the setup because we really struggled in the first two races with the race pace and today it all came good which is great to see, again how quickly we've managed to progress it's just fantastic."
"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 tire 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 tires 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.
Kimi Raikkonen went from a podium to a point-less finish in the space of 10 laps as his tire strategy proved to be the wrong one.
Raikkonen was running as high as second as Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix entered its final stint, albeit over 20 seconds down on Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.
However, the Lotus driver had opted for a two-stop strategy, which may have worked in getting up to second, but it didn't work in allowing him to keep it as those on three-stoppers came storming by.
Raikkonen, who had been one of the first of the two-stoppers to pit, could do absolutely nothing to keep those with fresher tires at bay.
The 2007 World Champ finished the grand prix down in 14th place, over 50s behind race winner Rosberg.
"We tried to run two stops but we ran out of the tires in the end," said the Finn.
"We tried but it didn't pay off today.
"There are two choices and we took another one, we thought it was going to work out but it didn't."
Sebastian Vettel rose by ten places to finish fifth in China on Sunday, starting from 15th place on Lap 1 to fifth at the finish. However, the World Champion was running second before being overhauled by both McLarens and teammate Mark Webber in the closing stages. He admitted his confusion after the race.
Having elected to revert to Red Bull’s old exhaust configuration on Friday, Vettel has struggled to match Webber’s pace all weekend; this was reflected in qualifying, as he failed to make the Q3 cut and started 11th on the grid – his worst since 2009.
Today, pit-stops helped make up for a bad start in the opening stint before the German pulled out a string of impressive and clean overtaking maneuvers. He then fell back late in the race.
“I think had no tires left," he explained to BBC Sport before going through the move in which Webber passed around the outside of the Turn 14 hairpin. “You could ask the same question about losing the position to Jenson (Button). There was nothing left with my tires. The only chance was to escape from Kimi (RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen); he had the same problem as me – we were too slow on the straights, losing a lot of time, and that made it difficult to pass. I’m happy with fifth, given the poor start, but we missed out.
“The car wasn’t finding the revs, so I’m a bit confused. I'm usually pretty quick but today I was one of the last ones (in the speed trap timings). I didn’t wake up quickly enough. I was passed by both Williams (at the start) and almost crashed into them, so I had to hit brakes. I then lost more positions, nearly losing one to a Caterham; so it was a bad situation after the first lap and it was a good strategy for that comeback.
“There was nothing more I could have done. A podium was so near yet so far. But to be fifth from 15th is important – good points."
Heading to Bahrain, the double title winner is fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, behind team-mate Webber and 17 points off Lewis Hamilton’s lead.
Mark Webber (4th): "Trying to get the balance right for the whole race was very tricky. In the end, fourth was not too bad; it wasn't the maximum, but it's very tight between the teams at the front. At some points of the race, I saw P13/ P14 on the board, so I have to be satisfied with fourth place. I made a few mistakes running wide trying to push onto the back straight, it's hard there as you can get onto the marbles. I think the strategy was good, but it's always a gamble with the three stop, as to what traffic there might be. Congratulations to Nico, he deserves the victory, and also to Mercedes. For me it's three fourths on the bounce now, it's good points and we leave here reasonably satisfied, but we need to keep boxing and keep improving."
Sebastian Vettel (5th): "I had no tires left at the end of the race. Sitting in the car, I was reacting with brake balance, diff, everything to try and keep the tires, but by the last few laps, I knew the only chance was trying to keep ahead of Kimi; I think he ran into the same sort of problem. We got some good points and it was a good recovery from 15th. Mercedes won pretty comfortably today, so well done to them. 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, I wasn't entirely happy finding the revs and I lost the initial bit when the lights went off. Usually I'm pretty quick with that, but today I was one of the last ones. The first lap wasn't great, but with the strategy we managed to come back. I think the weekend was good for us, we learned a lot and hopefully we will take these lessons on board and go in the right direction for next week."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "That was very busy and action packed race. Ultimately from where we started, and where we were on the first lap, we faced some difficult strategic decisions. We were the first to stop with Mark, which was very aggressive. We stopped early with Sebastian and split the strategies at that point – Mark on a three-stop and Seb onto a two-stop and the race started to unfold. Our race pace was pretty strong and we got amongst the McLarens. Unfortunately, the front left tire on Sebastian's car took a real hammering, possibly behind Kimi, and he didn't have anything left tire-wise by the end of the race, but nonetheless having been fifteenth on the first lap, fifth is still a strong result. Mark also went onto a long last stint. He had a great scrap with Lewis, we got Mark track position to Lewis and he just lost out at the end there. Nonetheless, it was a good haul of points. Congratulations to Nico Rosberg and to Mercedes on their Grand Prix victory."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "To finish fourth and fifth, I think unfortunately is a result we can be happy with, having started in sixth and eleventh. Sebastian was 14th after the first lap, so it was a pretty good recovery. The strategy was good, we did two stops with Sebastian but unfortunately the last stint was a bit too long and he didn't have any tires remaining at the end. Mark made a solid race. We have to work on our qualifying pace now in order to start a bit higher on the grid."
Jenson Button (2nd): "Congratulations to Nico [Rosberg] today – he drove a faultless race. But who knows what we could have achieved if we'd had a clear run at him in the final stint? Our pace was very good and the aim was to come out ahead of that following pack of cars – which we would have done if we hadn't lost time in the pitstop – and chase him down and put him under pressure. The delay in the final stop was just one of those things though – all the other stops had been very strong this weekend, but that one in particular wasn't. The delay pushed me back into the traffic, which was a little bit of a shock, but the pace and consistency are there in the car and I was able to get back into second position, after a good battle and a satisfying pass on Sebastian [Vettel]. It's disappointing not to have been able to challenge for the win, but it was a fun race with tons of overtaking and lots of battling. More important, it's been a great day for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes because we're now leading both world championships. It's very important to be consistent, and it's nice to be back on the podium, but there are just a couple of little things we need to improve upon to make life even better for ourselves."
Lewis Hamilton (3rd): "I had a great race! And, although neither Jenson nor I was sadly able to win, I'm really happy that Nico took his first win today, but I'm also really pleased for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team: both Jenson and I were able to get back on the podium and score some more good points. It was a tough race, though: I'd love to have been able to challenge Nico, and I think maybe I'd have been able to if I'd started on the front row, but we still managed to move forwards from the start I had a lot of fun overtaking people too. I reckon I got everything out of the car that I possibly could. It's also a major positive to know that we've got a very consistent car. We just have to make sure we keep moving forwards, that's all. Mercedes AMG, Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Sauber are all up there – that's a serious championship and it's going to make for great racing for the fans to watch. It's been a while since I was at the top of the drivers' world championship – but we've got to remain focused. I think if I just continue to work as I am then the wins will surely come, and I'll keep pushing for some better results in the future."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Nico drove a truly excellent race today, so first of all I want to say 'bravo' to him for taking his maiden grand prix victory. Well done, too, to Mercedes AMG, who were able to manage their car's tire wear this afternoon better than we'd perhaps anticipated. As for Jenson and Lewis, well, they both drove brilliantly this afternoon too, coping with a three-stop strategy that demanded that they attack, and overtake, again and again and again throughout the race. That's never easy, and inevitably they both lost a bit of time on track in their efforts to make their passing maneuvers stick, but they both kept at it and I'm sure the television spectacle was fantastic as a result. It was a tough race, but our strategy resulted in both our drivers getting onto the podium. Accordingly, we extended our lead in the constructors' world championship, whilst Lewis and Jenson now lie first and second in the drivers' championship. Would Jenson have been able to beat Nico if his final pitstop had gone more smoothly? Well, obviously, he'd have lost less time in the pitlane, and undoubtedly he'd have re-emerged onto the track with a clearer road in front of him; but, in all fairness, today was Nico's day, and we may not have been able to beat him even if Jenson's final pitstop had been an impeccably slick one. So, yes, at his 111th attempt, Nico fully deserved to win today. We've had three Grands Prix so far this year, and they've been won by three different drivers from three different teams. The performance differential between the fastest cars is minimal. It looks like we've got a great season ahead of us, doesn't it? Bring it on!"
Fernando Alonso (9th): "We knew this would be a difficult race and that's how it turned out. We were always in traffic, without an opportunity to exploit the car's potential and when you are behind other cars, the tires get worn much more easily. Choosing to do three stops clearly meant we would be forced to do some overtaking, but with the top speed we had, it turned out to be almost impossible on the main straight, so I had to invent some overtaking moves at other points on the track, where I could make better use of the car. 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. Once again next week it will be mainly a case of damage limitation. I don't want to think of the classification because the priority is to improve the performance of the F2012. This does not mean however, that I have lost hope, quite the contrary. Last year, we believed all the way to Spa and there's no reason not to at the moment, when we are third in the classification, just eight points off the leader. Sure, we definitely need to make a good step forward to make the car quicker. In Spain we will have major updates but so will the others and so it's not that I'm expecting a miracle of going one second quicker than the others."
Felipe Massa (13th): "I tried to do my best in a very close fought race. Sure, thirteenth place is not something I can be happy about, but I think that as far as my race was concerned, this was a step forward compared to the first two races of the season. At least I managed to run a normal race and I know I did everything that I could. The decision to make two stops was the right one, given my position, but maybe, in the light of how the race went, it would have been better to stop at different times: however, that's easy to say now, after the checkered flag. Each and every time I found myself in traffic and paid for the lack of top speed, one of the major problems with our car at the moment. The Sakhir circuit, for the next round of the championship, does not look like being very favorable for us, given how things have gone so far. For me, it is a race where I have always done well, but I'm not under any illusions. As always, we will try and give it our best shot."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "There's no point denying we are disappointed. We had the potential to get a better result than this, but we did not manage it. The lack of top speed, one of the weak points of this F2012, prevented Fernando especially of making the most of a strategy, which at one point, had put him in a situation where he could fight for a place in the top five. Felipe went for a two stopper, counting on others having higher tire degradation, but this only turned out to be the case for a few cars. It was quite an unusual race, as indeed was qualifying, which still delivered some surprises compared to what was being predicted and I think it is worth analyzing the way it went in depth to try and understand how best to tackle the next round. In Bahrain we will again have to be racing on the defensive but that doesn't mean we will go there in a resigned state of mind. We have seen three different winners in three races, with performance levels of some cars changing very significantly from race to race. At this stage, we must do the maximum on track and exploit every opportunity, but the most important work is that done in Maranello, especially on the aerodynamic development. We need to accelerate the introduction of updates and change gear. This is very long and unpredictable championship, where things can change very quickly. Finally, I'd like to congratulate Nico Rosberg on his first win in Formula 1 and Mercedes for a return to victory after a gap of 57 years."
Pat Fry: "Definitely an interesting race for the spectators, but very frustrating for us. Traffic was the decisive factor in this race, which was easily predictable, given where our cars were on the grid. We split the strategies, also in light of the fact that with Felipe, we could choose which type of tire he could start on. Seeing where we came out of the third pit stop with Fernando – alongside Hamilton, I think the choice was the right one, but we will analyze the way the race played out carefully to understand if we could have done anything differently. Clearly today, we paid a very heavy price for the lack of a good top speed on a track like this. The result does not represent the car's true potential in race configuration but we have to accept it. We lack performance, we know it, but there is no point in beating ourselves up over it: rather we need to concentrate all our efforts on improving car performance. Next week in Bahrain we won't have any particularly significant updates, so we cannot expect a miracle: we must try and squeeze the maximum out of what we have to work with. I want to finish on a positive note, complimenting the pit stop guys, who once again today did a great job, as the times can testify."
Nico Rosberg (1st): "This is a very special moment for me. The whole weekend went perfectly. My first pole position, now my first win in Formula One – it really is fantastic. But it's not only this; it's the first win for the new Silver Arrow and for this great team. That is really special for me. Thanks to everybody in the team, here in China and in our factories in Brackley and Brixworth. It makes me very proud that we have improved the car so quickly. I will never forget this race, and the last 20 laps felt as long as if I was racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours! But then crossing the line was so intense. We will enjoy this success, but our feet are still on the ground. We are still not where we want to be, we are still working hard to understand the car and the tires in all conditions, and we will keep pushing to improve our race pace even further. We will see how that works out in Bahrain."
Michael Schumacher (DNF, Wheel nut): "First of all, congratulations to the whole team, to Mercedes-Benz and of course to Nico who achieved a perfect victory from start to finish. He did a great job today and yesterday, and I am happy for him. As for my race, my right front tire got loose following my first pit stop. As I did not want to cause any bigger damage to the car, I stopped on the grass. I felt there was something wrong immediately and especially in turn three, when I put pressure on the right side of the car. Up until then I had a controlled race I'd say, keeping the others behind me and the tires together. Of course, this was an unfortunate ending to what could have been a nice race, and I feel sorry for the guys, who always work so hard and give their best. But we all know that's part of the game."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "This is a truly special and historic day. I am so delighted for Nico, he has deserved to take his first victory several times, and has now done so by driving a perfectly judged race from pole position. I am excited to see how he develops now he has that win under his belt. Commiserations to Michael, who was driving a controlled race in second position, but was forced to retire after his pit stop. However, he is the first man to say that we win and lose as a team, and his performances this year prove that he is equally capable of climbing to the top step of the podium. Heartfelt congratulations to all our team here at the track, in Brackley and in Brixworth; they have put tremendous effort into this project, and we are now starting to see the rewards for their dedication and expertise. Finally, I must thank all our colleagues at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart and around the world – their support has been unstinting, and we are proud to deliver the first victory for a works Silver Arrow car in 57 years. I was just one year old when Juan Manuel Fangio won in Monza in 1955 – but this victory is something I will remember, and savor, for a very long time indeed!"
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "What a sensational victory from Nico and our team! It was unbelievable how Nico drove and controlled the race from lap one to 56. A big thank you to everybody in Brackley, Brixworth, Stuttgart, Fellbach, Unterturkheim and Mohringen for all their relentless work and their belief in our capabilities and that we can make it. Nico's performance was superb today, the team executed a great two-stop strategy, and Nico and his car managed the tires very well. It was a shame for Michael, who dropped out after his first pit stop because of a problem with the right front wheel; he missed out on a possible very good podium result. It was particularly sweet to see Jenson and Lewis on the podium – Mercedes Power to the power of three!"
Romain Grosjean (6th): "It was a very good race, I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I made a little mistake fighting with Mark (Webber) but overall it was a good performance. The car felt great and the team did an amazing job to give us such a big improvement from Friday, so I'm especially happy for the guys to be able to finish the race and get some good points on the board. To be up there fighting with McLaren and Red Bull is a great feeling and I'm happy to have got my season started properly. We've had high hopes since P3 on the grid in Melbourne, and now after a few setbacks it's time to aim higher. There's always room to improve and hopefully from here we can aim for the top five and eventually podiums. We'll take things step by step but I'm feeling confident for the rest of the season ahead."
Kimi Raikkonen (14th): "We tried to run two stops as it looked to be the fastest strategy and up until the last ten laps it was looking good, but we ran out of tire performance at the end. I was stuck behind Felipe (Massa) for quite a while and couldn't get past as I wasn't fast enough in the right parts of the track to make a move. Even if I'd got past I don't think it would have made the greatest amount of difference to the final result. We had good pace in the race, we tried a different strategy and it didn't pay off today; it's as simple as that."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It is getting more frustrating for us as we are clearly very close to achieving a very good result. Twelve laps before the end of today's race we had one car in P2 and one car in P5 with no more pit stops to go. Unfortunately, we were a little bit too aggressive with our strategy. As soon as we understood some cars were doing three stops it was clear there was potential for us to finish on the podium, but we were not expecting the tire wear to be as high as it was. For Romain the strategy worked; for Kimi it did not. The positives from this weekend are that we continue to show good qualifying and race pace with the E20, and we were capable of fighting for a podium finish with Kimi. Also, it was a very good first full race for Romain. One slow stop and one mistake when fighting with Mark (Webber) for position meaning he ran on the marbles cost him two positions. He recovered very well from this and his pace was very consistent."
Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations: "Ten laps before the end of the race, Kimi's tires were nearing the end of their life and unfortunately he got on the marbles when Sebastian (Vettel) passed. That was the end of his race effectively as he lost ten places over the course of a lap. We'll dissect the data and see if a three stop would have been better for us, but everything before the race suggested a two-stop was the way to go, and this approach benefitted Romain. Without the gamble we took with Kimi we wouldn't have been running in second position so that was the risk we took. I'm happy for Romain to finish his first race of the season. To go from tenth to sixth – racing with the cars of the caliber he was – showed a measured performance so it looks good for the future. We've learn a lot this weekend and hopefully we head to Bahrain with an improved car and better understanding of this year's tires."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "Congratulations to Romain on his first points of the season. It was a shame that Kimi could not get a double points finish, but the speed of the package is fundamentally there. Engine-wise we've had a trouble free weekend, which is always positive at this type of track where the unit gets a workout over the entire rev range. Driveability through the slow corners was good and the top speed was reasonable, which allowed Romain to defend his position in the closing laps from the Williams and get some decent points for the team today."
Paul di Resta (12th): "It was an extremely close race today and although we were able to keep ourselves in the hunt, we were just missing the pace to catch people and make up any more ground. So it was a bit like the race in Australia where there were lots of cars running very close to each other and a lot of guys nursing their tires. I think we made some good calls with the tires and there were lots of different strategies playing out around us. It was also incredibly slippery offline with the marbles making things very tricky. So we go away from here knowing that we are not too far away from the other teams and determined to get the car dialed in nicely for Bahrain next week."
Nico Hulkenberg (15th): "I didn't get a great start because there was a lot of wheelspin and I lost a few places straight away. Then I picked up some damage to my front wing on the first lap. I don't think I hit anybody, but there was a lot of debris flying around going into turn one so maybe that's when it happened. That made the first stint very difficult because there was massive understeer and I had to change the nose at my first stop. We targeted a two-stop strategy, which I think was the right choice because our pace was strong towards the end of the race and I closed up on the main pack, but I think we lost too much at the start to make a real impact in the race."
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "We always felt that scoring points in today's race would need an element of luck or attrition, but as it was we saw almost 100% reliability. Paul was in the mix for most of the race, fighting to get in the top ten and ending up just under eight seconds from seventh place, and just 22 seconds off second place, which shows how competitive the field was today. Nico's race was compromised by a poor getaway and the front wing damage, but we take encouragement from the pace he showed, especially towards the end of the race. We know that our race pace relative to our midfield rivals is not too far away and hopefully we can continue to close the performance gap quickly. "
Kamui Kobayashi (10th): "Of course after what we did in qualifying the race result is disappointing. I'm not really sure what happened at the start, my car just didn't move, it was a bit strange and I lost positions immediately. Then I was stuck in traffic for most of the time, also we made the second pit stop a bit late and the tires had gone. Quite often we have recovered in the race from a bad qualifying, but today it was the other way round. So we have proven we can be strong in both qualifying and race, and next time we will put this all together."
Sergio Perez (11th): "I must say I am very disappointed. I had a very good start, and for the entire first stint it really looked to be going very well for me. But then when I picked up the medium compound tires I lost a lot of performance from lap 17 onwards. Actually I feel I would have been better off with a three stop strategy, but you never know. The pit stops as such were good, but at both I lost time at the launch because we had a problem with the clutch. However, this is racing and we will do better next time."
Monisha Kaltenborn, CEO, Team Principal: "We are obviously disappointed with this result. After our strong qualifying we expected more. However, we were not fast enough, and our strategy didn't work out – both our drivers got stuck in traffic. For the fans it was a very exciting race with a lot of overtaking right up to the end, which shows how fierce the competition is. Congratulations to Nico Rosberg and Mercedes for a well deserved victory."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "This was definitely not the race we were expecting, hence we are disappointed. A number of factors didn't go the way we wanted. First of all Kamui had a poor start, then his tires wore out earlier than expected, and he had to pit earlier than planned. He then got stuck in traffic. Initially we had a three stop strategy for both cars, but then we didn't want Sergio to have the same problem and we reverted him to two stops, which was still a good strategy. But then we lost time at the first pit stop with a clutch problem, this cost him two positions and, as the final point, we expected overtaking to be easier for our cars, which eventually didn't happen. All these factors led to a disappointing result."
Jean-Eric Vergne (16th): "We decided to change some elements on the car that had not worked well up to qualifying, which is why I started from pit lane, so my set-up for the race was more similar to what we had in Melbourne and Sepang. I did not have high hopes of doing much, starting from the back, but the important thing was to see how the car performed. It was pretty good, so I expect we will start with it like that in Bahrain and hopefully be able to have a better race result. Today's race had some enjoyable moments as I passed a few cars, but it was a bit short for me, as a few more laps and I think I could have got ahead of the two guys in front of me.
Daniel Ricciardo (17th): "My start off the line was okay, but I got a bit squeezed around the outside at Turn 1 and lost what I had gained earlier. Then, on the same lap, I went round some debris on the track at Turn 6 and lost another place. In fact, my whole first stint was not very good and we were struggling to overtake. In the second stint, it went slightly better and the last one better still, but the pace today was not good enough to deliver anything better."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "As Jean-Eric did not have a particularly good qualifying, we decided to make changes to his car set-up and configuration under Parc Ferme rules, which of course involved having to start from the pit lane. Today, tires were the key factor for everyone and we saw that aspect produce some dramatic racing. In our case, we opted to put our two drivers on different strategies, Daniel using three sets and Jean-Eric four. However, we have been lacking pace since the start of the weekend and therefore did not make much progress up the order, with the two cars finishing 16th and 17th. Having run the two cars in different configurations to one another today, we will now analyze carefully the cable data to work on producing the best possible set-up for next weekend's race in Bahrain, where I believe we will be capable of getting a better result."
Bruno Senna (7th): "It was a great result for the team to finish with two cars in the points today. It was a tough race and tire wear was high. Our strategy worked for us today but we're still learning and improving together. We aim to continue to get better throughout the next few races."
Pastor Maldonado (8th): "It was very tough today. I lost places at the start and it was difficult to overtake but we had good pace. We were able to fight all the way to the end so I'm happy to get some points. It was a great result for the team."
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "I am so happy for the whole team. It is a an excellent result to get both cars into the points, the culmination of everyone's hard work and dedication, coupled with great drives by both drivers to manage their tires and make a two-stop strategy work."
Laurent Debout, Renault: "We're all delighted to get a double points finish today, something we've promised since the start of the season. Pastor's performance to keep his eighth place was great to watch, he's a real fighter, while Bruno kept his head down and got on with the job in hand and did all that was asked of him. Getting the points on merit and by racing shows the engine-chassis package is really working well so far this season."
Vitaly Petrov (18th): "I am really pleased with my performance today. I think we got as much out of the car as we could and the fact we were on the same lap as the leaders right up until the final lap is a very positive sign. We brought some updates here and they've worked out pretty well – the key for us is to keep pushing, keep bringing new parts to the car and make sure we maintain the momentum we are building up."
Heikki Kovalainen (23rd): "I had a good start, getting up to 16th off the line and then was running pretty well for the first stint on the options. We pitted on lap 13 and went to the primes which held up well until lap 30 but then as soon as we made the second stop I could feel an issue with the right rear so we had to stop again immediately which was basically the end of my race. This hasn't been our strongest weekend but with the next race back-to-back with China we can look to bounce back straight away, so we'll regroup in Bahrain and look to put in a stronger weekend there."
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "The whole team did very well today and for me that was one of our most competitive races since we joined Formula 1. There were no safety cars and yet we were incredibly close to finishing on the same lap as the leader. Our race pace was good on both cars – unfortunately we let Heikki down during his second pitstop but apart from that it was another good day in the growth of this team. We have also taken another step forward in the direction of the overall business, with Mark Smith assuming his position on the pitwall today and Mike's role as our Group Chief Technical Officer giving us a clear vision on where we are taking both the F1 team and our roadcar and technical operations. We also have John Iley starting with us in the next couple of weeks to boost our capabilities back at the factory, and the wind tunnel operations will be going 24/7 in the next couple of months. With all of this I feel very optimistic about the future and leave China knowing we are going in the right direction."
Mark Smith, Technical Director: "Today's race was pretty tough, but I am pleased with the way both drivers kept pushing and I think we have learnt some very useful lessons here in China. We opted to start both cars on the soft tires and our pace in the early laps was good. Both drivers switched to the medium compounds for their second stops and we were easily pulling away from the cars behind but then when Heikki stopped on lap 30 he felt a problem with the rear of the car as soon as he pulled out of the pitlane so had to do a very slow lap and come back in. Vitaly had a problem free afternoon and was putting in good lap times, staying on the lead lap until almost the final lap and with every race he is growing more and more confident in the car and with the team. Now we have another week of hard work ahead of us so we will do our best to make the most of the different conditions we will face in Bahrain and aim to get back to where we know we should be."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "We saw again today that our pace in the races is pretty good. Obviously the issue Heikki had was a shame, but until that point both he and Vitaly were making good use of the engine strategies we gave them, easily passing the slower cars and recording good lap times with no issues on our side."
Pedro de la Rosa (21st): "I'm happy with the race we did. It's true that the start wasn't great but I was able to maintain a good rhythm afterwards, especially with the medium tires. We had an interesting fight with Kovalainen, which is always stimulating, and at the start we had the Marussias in our sights during various laps. Although I wasn't able to catch them in the race, we've got them right there and with a little bit of progress I'm confident we can get ahead of them. We leave here with a feeling that we've taken an important stride and that we're right in the fight. The overall assessment is that we've progressed in every aspect, the pit stops are better every time, our rhythm is improving and the team is more of a unit. It will be difficult to see much of a difference in Bahrain because there is no time to introduce upgrades but we can progress in terms of teamwork and set-up."
Narain Karthikeyan (22nd): "My start was also quite poor, so we still have to do some work on the start system because it's still new. It was quite difficult to drive on the option tires because we had a problem and the car was moving a lot on the straight, we are yet to identify what the reason was for that so we'll have to look into it and make sure we overcome it. But on the primes the car balance was much better and it was easy to drive. We set out to finish the race this weekend in China and we've achieved it, so we have to be pleased about that. Now we hope to progress a little bit more in Bahrain next week."
Luis Perez-Sala: "We're satisfied because we've met the targets we set for this Grand Prix. This was mainly to finish the race with both cars but there are many other things that have improved in this race with regards to the last one. The rhythm of both drivers was good and the tire changes worked well. It was good for us that it wasn't too hot and there's no doubt that we still have to polish many things but I'm very happy with the work done by the drivers and the rest of the team. I congratulate them but we mustn't relax because in only a few days we've got the next Grand Prix in Bahrain and it won't be easy."
Timo Glock (19th): "It wasn't a straightforward race for me. The start was good and I could get in front of a couple of other cars, but they got by again with the DRS and KERS. Then I was racing with my team-mate and I was able to pull out a bit of a gap from him. For some reason though, my front left tire just dropped away too early each time. Charles seemed to have the better car over the race and he was able to close the gap. I had to come in early, but I had some good in and out laps and could use the tire well. In the second stint I just managed the gap to him and helped the tire over the distance, but it dropped again and I had a lot of understeer. From the second stop I had good pace and could open the gap again until the blue flags started to come out. Suddenly the engine dropped as I was low on fuel, so I had to cruise in 6th and 7th gears and my focus then was getting the car home. Some things to look at and learn from the race because they held us back quite a bit. On the positive side, this means there is a lot more to come from the car. Well done to the team. A good job again, especially in the pits today."
Charles Pic (20th): "It was a good race for me I think. We have reduced the gap to the Caterham cars yet again, so this is very good. I was also lapping round the same pace as Timo today, so again this is another step forward for me. We have to keep this up now and continue pushing because the potential is there in the car for sure. I think we can do some good work with the strategy because, now we have reduced the gap, maybe we can try some other things to get ahead on the track. It has been another good weekend for me so thanks to the team and my crew, who have all done a great job. I hope to see another improvement in Bahrain next weekend where I will be racing on a circuit that I know for the first time this season."
John Booth, Team Principal: "We are naturally very pleased with how the weekend has gone for us again here in Shanghai. To bring both cars home in their third consecutive race is very encouraging, as is the pace of the cars, which is improving with every race. We are also delighted to still hold 10th place in the Constructors' Championship after the third Grand Prix, which provides a further boost to the team, the drivers and our Partners. There's so much to be pleased about at the moment but we have to remain focused because there is a lot of work to do, some real potential in the package and a few areas where we can continue to improve as a team. All credit to everyone trackside and back at the factory though. It has been very rewarding watching the race performances in particular unfold and we can feel proud of how far we've come in such a short space of time. The races ahead look very exciting too as Timo now has a car he can work with and we wait with eager anticipation to see how Charles will perform at circuits he is better
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Germany||Mercedes GP||56||1h36m26.929|
|4.||Mark Webber||Australia||Red Bull-Renault||56||27.924|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Germany||Red Bull-Renault||56||30.483|
|12.||Paul di Resta||Britain||Force India-Mercedes||56||42.2|
|15.||Nico Hulkenberg||Germany||Force India-Mercedes||56||51.2|
|16.||Jean-Eric Vergne||France||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||56||51.7|
|17.||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||56||1m03.1|
|18.||Vitaly Petrov||Russia||Caterham-Renault||55||1 Lap|
|19.||Timo Glock||Germany||Marussia-Cosworth||55||1 Lap|
|20.||Charles Pic||France||Marussia-Cosworth||54||2 Laps|
|21.||Pedro de la Rosa||Spain||HRT-Cosworth||55||1 Lap|
|22.||Narain Karthikeyan||India||HRT-Cosworth||54||2 Laps|
|23.||Heikki Kovalainen||Finland||Caterham-Renault||53||3 Laps|
|24||Michael Schumacher||Germany||Mercedes GP||DNF L12||44 Laps|