While another disappointment befell Lewis Hamilton, his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg finished on top in the season’s third race at Shanghai. While Hamilton’s race was compromised from start on account of multiple mishaps, the first lap drama involving the clash of the two Ferrari drivers effectively neutralized any challenge to Rosberg as he crossed the line without much effort. The third straight victory meant that Rosberg went way ahead of all others in the 2016 F-1 World Championship standings. As for the 2015 world champion Hamilton, he trails Rosberg by 36 points after the first three races of the season.
Rosberg is going great guns since his victory in the 2015 Mexican GP on November 1, 2015. The German hasn’t lost in the next five races and most of his victories have been emphatic. It wasn’t any different on Sunday at Shanghai, where he took the pole in qualifying and finished far ahead of the second-placed Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari. Red Bull Racing’s 21-year old Russian driver Daniil Kvyat took the third place on the podium. On Saturday, Rosberg was lucky to take the Pole from Australia’s Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who did the fastest lap. However, the qualifying was botched up for Lewis Hamilton, who failed to make it out of Q1 since car picked up mechanical issues with its hybrid energy system. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were third and fourth, followed by Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and Force India’s Sergio Perez. The two Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen were eighth and ninth and another Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg was tenth.
On race day, Rosberg was quickly overtaken by Ricciardo at turn 1 of the first lap. While Rosberg and Ricciardo fought with each other, the two Ferrari drivers collided and created heavy problems for themselves. Behind them Hamilton was having his own problems and fell way behind. Haas driver Romain Grosjean also had problems and along with Vettel and Raikkonen, Grosjean too went to pits in the opening lap for urgent repairs. It was one of the most dramatic first laps in a Formula-1 race. Ricciardo was still ahead of Rosberg when they entered lap-3 but suddenly luck deserted the Australian as his car suffered a horrible puncture, in which his left rear tyre exploded and more debris was added to the track. Now Rosberg simply pulled away to freedom and never looked back. With Ricciardo out of the race for a while, Hamilton having a helter-skelter run and both Ferrari drivers taking additional and unscheduled pit-stops, Rosberg couldn’t have had a more care-free outing at Shanghai. To the credit of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, the duo survived the collision, continued their races and finished within the top 5. Vettel did even better and kept progressing through the laps and finished second behind Rosberg in the end. It is another matter that race leader Rosberg had a good 37 seconds lead over Vettel. As for Ricciardo, he got himself new tyres and managed to finish fourth behind teammate Daniil Kvyat with Raikkonen taking the fifth place. Williams’ Felipe Massa finished sixth ahead of Lewis Hamilton and the two Toro Rosso drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. were eighth and ninth while Valtteri Bottas of Williams ending at the 10th place.
Despite a breathless race in Shanghai with several collisions and more than hundred pit-stops; Nico Rosberg was unaffected as he raced away to the top podium finish to make it six wins on trot including the last three races of 2015 season. With 75 points on the championship leaderboard, Rosberg is 36 point ahead of second-placed Hamilton’s count of 39 points. Behind Hamilton are Ricciardo on 36 points, Vettel has 33 and Raikkonen 28 points. From China, the drivers travel to Russia for the fourth GP of the season at Sochi on May 01, 2015.
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