Rosberg clears chaos to dominate in China

By on Sunday, April 17, 2016
Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Nico Rosberg remained clear of the chaos behind him as he dominated proceedings to claim his sixth successive Formula 1 victory at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Rosberg lost the lead off the line to Daniel Ricciardo but soon fought back and stormed clear, as his primary rivals once again encountered early troubles.

Sebastian Vettel was a distant second after recovering from a first lap collision while Daniil Kvyat took third, as Lewis Hamilton recovered from last to finish seventh.

Rosberg now leads Hamilton in the championship by 36 points.

Ricciardo snatched the lead on the Super Soft tyre at the start while Soft-clad Rosberg slotted into second place, as the Ferrari drivers collided halfway around Turn 1.

With Kvyat on the inside of the corner, Vettel slid into Kimi Räikkönen, causing damage to both cars and triggering a chain reaction, as at the back Hamilton collided with Felipe Nasr, losing his front wing.

Vettel dropped back to eighth while Räikkönen and Hamilton both retreated to the pit lane for repairs.

Rosberg hounded the back of Ricciardo after a couple of laps and made the move along the back straight; as he did so, Ricciardo’s right rear tyre failed, and he retreated to the pit lane.

The Safety Car was deployed due to the amount of debris on track, leaving Rosberg at the head of the pack, with several other yet-to-pit drivers between himself and Kvyat, the first of the drivers who stopped during the neutralisation of the race.

Vettel was left down in 15th, Ricciardo 17th, Räikkönen 18th, while Hamilton stopped twice behind the Safety Car, in order to complete a mandatory stint, albeit just a single lap, on Super Softs.

Rosberg led away at the restart as the previously compromised drivers fought through the pack in a frenetic period of action.

Kvyat overhauled Massa to emerge as Rosberg’s nearest rival, by which time the Mercedes had established a seven second lead, which he gradually increased.

Kvyat pitted on lap 20 while Rosberg reacted a lap later for another set of Soft tyres and maintained the lead, as Vettel moved into third place.

Kvyat and Vettel pitted line astern on lap 35, with the Red Bull driver on Mediums and the Ferrari on a set of Soft tyres.

Vettel swept past Kvyat along the back straight, as Rosberg completed his second stop and maintained an advantage of almost half a minute, having switched to the Medium compound.

Rosberg duly crossed the line 37.7 seconds ahead of Vettel and Kvyat, while Ricciardo fought back to fourth after his puncture.

Räikkönen was fifth as Felipe Massa held off Hamilton for sixth, the Briton only narrowly fending off a late charge from Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was ninth after Valtteri Bottas, who dropped positions at the start, went wide late on and dropped to 10th.

Sergio Pérez was 11th for Force India, ahead of McLaren pair Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, who ran strongly initially before dropping back.

Esteban Gutiérrez collected 14th position for Haas, while Nico Hülkenberg was penalised for driving too slowly at the pit entry and took 15th.

Marcus Ericsson was 16th, ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Pascal Wehrlein, the Manor driving running as high as fourth behind the Safety Car.

All 22 drivers reached the chequered flag, with Romain Grosjean, Nasr, Rio Haryanto and Jolyon Palmer completing the field.

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