Whereas 2015 was all about the ubiquitous Mercedes 1-2 finishes, 2016 has had a similar theme only minus the “2” part of the 1-2 terminology as Nico Rosberg claimed his sixth Formula One victory in a row as everybody else merely watched his powerful Mercedes run away from Lap Three to finish in the third race of the season at the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
Rosberg was the pole-sitter for the race and was never challenged as Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo sitting alongside him in the second spot, got a better start and held the lead for all of two laps before his tire exploded on Lap Three and sent him to the pits and Rosberg to his third easy win in a row this season.
Meanwhile, just behind Ricciardo and Rosberg, the expected push from the Ferrari cars never occurred as Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat came storming up from his sixth spot on the start and caused Vettel to try and avoid him by pushing into his Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen. Kvyat took advantage of the melee to claim third place – temporarily – while Vettel and Raikkonen spent the rest of the race working their way back into contention. Vettel would eventually reclaim second place, shoving Kvyat to third and Raikkonen finished fifth.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton, starting in 22nd and last place on the grid, quickly made his way through most of the field but could never crack the top three and eventually fell off to seventh – one minute and 18 seconds in arrears of his Mercedes’ teammate.
Rosberg leads the 2016 season driver standings with 75 points followed by Hamilton in second with 39 points, Ricciardo in third with 36 points and Vettel in fourth with 33 points.
2016 Chinese Grand Prix Shanghai International Circuit – 56 laps – 190 miles
1 Nico Rosberg – Mercedes
2 Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari +37.776
3 Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull +45.936
4 Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull +52.688
5 Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari +1:05.872
6 Felipe Massa – Williams +1:15.511
7 Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes +1:18.230
8 Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso +1:19.268
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. – Toro Rosso +1:24.127
10 Valtteri Bottas – Williams +1:26.192
11 Sergio Perez – Force India +1:34.283
12 Fernando Alonso – McLaren +1:37.253
13 Jenson Button – McLaren +1:41.990
14 Esteban Gutierrez – Haas
15 Nico Hulkenberg – Force India
16 Marcus Ericsson – Sauber
17 Kevin Magnussen – Renault
18 Pascal Wehrlein – Manor
19 Romain Grosjean – Haas
20 Felipe Nasr – Sauber
21 Rio Haryanto – Manor
22 Jolyon Palmer – Renault