Chinese Grand Prix as it happened

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg wins the Chinese Grand Prix by 22 seconds, with Jenson Button second and Lewis Hamilton third.

15 April 2012 Last updated at 13:15

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As it happened

  1. 1110: 

    On that note, I'm going to bring this live text commentary to a close. Massive props to those who have been with me through the wee hours of Friday and Saturday morning and are still going strong on Sunday plus to all those who have joined along the way. It's been a pleasure. If all goes to plan - I suggest keeping an eye on this week for developments - I'll be back at 0730 BST on Friday to do it all over again for the Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir. I do hope you'll join me.

  2. 1106: 

    Absolute crikey. That was an absolute humdinger of the race. If you missed anything, you've made an error there. But luckily for you, here's Andrew Benson's report to give you a taster. Then hold fire until 1400 BST when we'll have a bespoke race re-run package for you on BBC One. We'll also have all the best moments of the race clipped up in bitesize chunks on this very website over the course of the day.

    BBC F1 Technical Analyst Gary Anderson

    On the Bahrain Grand Prix: "Everybody has to go there and see what happens. There's no way we know how the tyres are going to react in 50 degree Celsius conditions. It's going to be really exciting."

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "I think next weekend in Bahrain, McLaren will be very strong because they like the hotter temperatures. Nico Rosberg had a lot going for him, he had the colder temperatures, he had the car and he had the great start but he still had to do it. A great drive."


    John Parker on Twitter: "Exceptional first win for Nico Rosberg in the China GP and both McLarens on the podium. Awesome race, lots of excitement!"

    Venetia Cooke on Twitter: "So worth getting up for; paused the telly for 20 minutes during #bbcf1 to have a fry up, then resumed to a fantastic race."

    Paul Harvey, via text: "Good to see a new winner. Wonder how much the cooler temperatures benefited Mercedes tyre wear?"


    Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who finished 13th: "It was a very competitive race, everything was happening. I am very disappointed but I am a little bit more happy than I was after the first two races."


    McLaren driver Jenson Button on his pass on Sebastian Vettel: "He was looking in his mirrors so he knew how much to push it, but I was hungry. This is what F1 is all about - amazing overtakes. You've got four world champions trying to overtake each other. F1 in such great shape right now."


    More from McLaren driver Jenson Button: "There was amazing amounts of overtaking, and there were some great passes. I had a lot of fun, but there is a little pain in my back that hurts because we could have challenged for the win. [The pitstop problem] was such a shame, because we've done such great pit stops earlier. I wasn't ready to go even before the green light was on. I made a mistake in Malaysia and someone else did here, but that's how it goes."


    More from Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg: "It's amazing and very very special. The whole weekend has gone fantastically. It was all about managing the tyres and it all went well. I just concentrated on going fast. I was making sure I carried home the race win, there was no point in pushing it when I was so far ahead. It's great how we are moving forward so fast now. The team should get used to it [celebrating] now because there will be more to come."

  10. 1042: 

    DC lets Nico Rosberg know that he'll be getting a silver telegram from Bernie Ecclestone who sends one out when a driver wins a grand prix for the first time. Nice touch Mr E.


    Force India driver Paul di Resta: "We expected a bit more pace, but we just weren't quick enough to make up ground. It was a bit like Australia in that respect. We go away from here very close but when you are close but not in the points it's not good enough."

  12. 1035: 

    Nico Rosberg is getting ready for a photo with his team but DC is in no mood to wait and jumps in for a quick interview: "It's fantastic, it's been a long time coming but it was really special," he says. Rosberg kisses the plant pot trophy, gets another hug from team boss Ross Brawn and then gets his perfect smile ready for a photo.

  13. 1030: 

    Jake and EJ have found themselves wondering through the Red Bull garage and back into the pit-lane after a quick chat with Jenson Button who was looking pretty happy with himself. The teams are already starting to pack up their gear into containers and craning them into some trucks ready to be shipped to Bahrain.


    McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who finished third: "I got absolutely everything out of the car that I possibly could. I am sure if I hadn't had the penalty then I would have given Nico a run for his money. We will keep pushing on to get some better results. It's a positive to have the consistency and if I can keep working as hard as I am then I am sure the wins will come."


    Owen Young on Twitter: "F1 down, now BTCC. I think I'm going to need a whole new set of trousers by the end of today!"

    Mike Williams on Twitter: "Hopefully Schumi is not destined to a lack of race results this year! Phenomenal race!"

    Vicki Swift on Twitter: "Excellent grand prix! Superb result for Nico and Jenson!! Still so many teams doing so well, looks like 2012 is going to be exciting."


    Kimi Raikkonen who finished 14th: "We tried to run two stops but we ran out of the tyres in the end. 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."

  17. 1020: 

    So we have had three different winners, from three different constructors - and not one of those victors drives a Red Bull, the dominant car of the last two seasons. Whichever way you look at that, it's incredible. From what we've seen today, Red Bull aren't that far off in terms of race pace which means we means things should get even more competitive - if that's even possible...

  18. 1017: 

    And breathe. To be honest, I thought that after two cracking races to start this season, we were in for a quieter race but Nico Rosberg et al had other ideas. Rosberg may have been a world of his own up front, but behind him, the most sensational race was unfolding with Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso - and to be fair most of the field - showing just what they are paid to do. This might be a little early to make such a declaration but I'm going to anyway - this is going be the best and most unpredictable season we've seen in decades.

  19. 1014: 

    We're all done on BBC One, but don't go anywhere as Jake, EJ and DC are not finished yet. They'll be back on your screens via the Red Button for the F1 Forum. And if EJ is on form, we're sure to get some cracking interviews...

  20. 1013: 

    Oh, by the way. Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, who finished 10th and in the last points-paying position, set the fastest lap of the race if you're interested.


    More from Red Bull's Mark Webber, who finished fourth: "You needed a bit of experience today, it was a very, very close grand prix but congratulations to Nico. It was different strategies playing against each other - utter chaos. The difference between fourth and fifth is not massive between team-mates, it was just a few more points that was all. We've finished close to McLaren in all three races but there's a long way to go."


    Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, who finished sixth: "It was pretty good, I am very pleased for myself and the team. It looked like Formula Three at times but it was tough out there."


    Nick Doyle on Twitter: "That was nearly as exciting as Saturday's Grand National."

    Steven Broadbent on Twitter: "Fantastic race, one of my favourites to date! And Lewis Hamilton is back to his best, brilliant overtaking throughout."

    Matty Jenkins on Twitter: "What a cracking race! That's how it should be! Shaping up to be a good season."

  24. 1008: 

    Nico Rosberg may have won the race but Lewis Hamilton, or Mr Consistent as I'm now going to call him, is our new championship leader after his third successive third place finish. The McLaren driver has 45 points and is two points clear of team-mate Jenson Button with Fernando Alonso a further six points back. Rosberg is up to sixth on 28 points.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "It was a bit slow getting going but we know now it was all about making the tyres last as long as possible. We had the perfect drive and dominant performance by Nico Rosberg. It was a beautiful start for Nico, he was able to get the perfect run into Turn One."


    Red Bull driver Mark Webber, who finished fourth: "It was a pretty difficult place to work out the strategy. We lost some positions at the start as we struggled to get the tyres working and I had a poor getaway. But I got my head down and tried to execute a slightly different strategy. In the end, fourth is probably not the maximum, but after I made a few mistakes running wide trying to push. It was an interesting race, enjoyed most of it. Congrats to Nico. That's the big news story. He deserves the victory."


    McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who came third: "We knew Nico would be really quick, and we knew if he got away it would be hard to catch him as it proved. First pole and first win is always special so congratulations. I'm happy to be on the podium after starting seventh, the strategy was good - it was one of the best races of the season. There was a trail of cars behind me at the end, but overall it was a fantastic day."


    McLaren driver Jenson Button, who finished second: "Before that our race pace was good, I had some really good battles out there. It was a pity because when I exited the pits I had four cars in front of me who I wouldn't have been up against. If that didn't happen, I would have had a clear run on Nico. All in all though, it was a fun day, I really enjoyed it out there."


    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, race winner: "It's an unbelievable feeling. I'm very happy, very excited. It has been a long time coming for me and team after two years and a bit. We are finally there. It's nice to see how quickly we are progressing. We didn't expect to be that fast today but I'm very happy with the pace."


    Ross Brawn was spotted on the phone straight after the race and he now tells us it was his father who called him to congratulate him. As soon as he was off the phone to him, Brawn says he called his wife. "She was pretty emotional," he said. "She lives it."


    Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn: "I am elated, any race win is special but after a tough time to win a race like that is very special. It was a super super job from Nico. The engineers and drivers knew exactly what they had to do and they did it perfectly."


    Mercedes team bossRoss Brawn: "It was stunning, we still had the fear with the tyres but he used them perfectly. It's just a tragedy that we had the problem with Michael [Schumacher] because he would have been in great shape too. We have started a new adventure, I have been lucky to have a lot of special days and this is certainly a special one."

  33. 0954: 

    Here's a rundown from P11 downwards - Sergio Perez, Paul di Resta, Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo, Vitaly Petrov, Timo Glock, Charles Pic, Pedro de la Rosa, Narain Karthikeyan, Heikki Kovalainen and Michael Schumacher.

    BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey

    "You need a good excuse to set your alarm so early on a Sunday morning and I think we have just given you one."

  35. 0953: 

    Nico Rosberg throws his trophy - which looks like a giant plant pot - aloft and takes in the applause. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton get their trophies too and then head over to Norbert Haug to cover him in champagne. Haug won't care, though. All three cars are powered by his engines and his man is on the top step. I think that will relieve some of the pressure on the big bosses who may have been questioning the team's return to the sport following a disppointing two seasons.

  36. 0950: 

    As the drivers wait to go on the podium, Lewis Hamilton asks Nico Rosberg: "Did you even have to overtake any cars?" Rosberg said: "No!" Hamilton pats him on the back and congratulates his old friend whom he raced against through the various ranks to get to Formula 1.

  37. 0948: 

    So Nico Rosberg wins from Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean, Bruno Senna, Pastor Maldonado, Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi.

  38. 0946: 

    Nico Rosberg jumps out of his car and stands on the nose of his car, arms raised, soaking up the atmosphere. He then leaps off his car and into the arms of Norbert Haug, the Mercedes motorsport director who is beaming. Then he dashes over to his team and takes the applause.

    BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards

    "It might have been a one-two if Michael Schumacher hadn't had his problem, but I am sure they will take the win."

    BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards

    "The first win for Mercedes since 1955. He's done it and he has dominated for almost the whole race."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "That was fantastic performance. Nico was stunning in qualifying yesterday and superb today."

  42. 0942: 

    Mercedes boss Ross Brawn fights back the emotion as he tells his charge: "Brilliant race Nico, just brilliant." Nico Rosberg replies: "Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees, thank you Ross." Prepare for some emotional scenes in parc ferme, folks.


    Nico Rosberg crosses the line and punches the air. That was some drive by the Mercedes driver who has absolutely dominated this race. Based on that performance, it's difficult to understand why this is his first win in 111 races.



    LAP 55

    Oh boy, the Red Bull drivers are battling wheel to wheel here. The 2009 Turkish Grand Prix is probably ringing bells in their heads. Mark Webber gets alongside his team-mate down the outside and edges towards him to show he's there. Vettel holds his line but Webber holds on around the outside. Unbelievably, Webber has much better traction out of the corner and pulls away on the outside to complete the move. That will be sweet. Stunning stuff.


    RACE UPDATE: 1 Rosberg, 2 Button, 3 Hamilton, 4 Vettel, 5 Webber, 6 Grosjean, 7 Senna, 8 Maldonado, 9 Alonso, 10 Kobayashi

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Lewis Hamilton has got to be careful about his weaving, he has been pulled up before about the several changing of direction as he tries to keep his race place."

    LAP 54

    Lewis Hamilton is on fire. He gets by Sebastian Vettel with a ballsy move into the hairpin. Vettel tries to fight back, staying in his tow down the main straight, but Hamilton defends well. Great driving from both. Hamilton now up to third. Vettel fourth and Webber all over his Red Bull team-mate in fifth.

    BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards

    "Lewis Hamilton's tyres should be in better shape than those of Sebastian Vettel, they've done seven less laps, so that could become vital as the race goes on."

    LAP 53

    Jenson Button is told that he has clear air and he should try and pull away before Lewis Hamilton gets by Sebastian Vettel. At least they tell him how it is.

    LAP 52

    Felipe Massa captilises on Kimi Raikkonen's misery, getting by the Lotus driver for 13th. The Finn may as well just park it. Nico Rosberg looks to be cruising at the front and Jenson Button has eeked out a 1.2 second lead over Sebastian Vettel so looks safe. Now it's all about Sebastian Vettel and whether he can hold off Lewis Hamilton. Watch. This. Space.

    LAP 51

    Jenson Button takes second place with an audacious move on Sebastian Vettel down the inside of Turn 14. He thinks about it, dinks out then dinks back in, and then suddenly dinks back out again. He sticks the McLaren down the inside and is the last of the late brakers. He makes it stick. Wow.

    LAP 50

    Incredible racing from Sauber at 200mph down the back straight. As Sergio Perez tries overtake the tyre-worn Kimi Raikkonen, team-mate Kamui Kobayashi tries to leapfrog them both, but the Mexican pushes him close to the grass to try to stop him. It doesn't work and the Japanese makes it through to 10th place. Raikkonen is back in 12th now. Where did it all go wrong Kimi?

    LAP 50

    It's pandamonium here at Shanghai. It's like I'm watching go-karting - there's passing here there and everywhere. Jenson Button is all over the back of Sebastian Vettel, but Lewis Hamilton is all over Button. The last three world champions are battling over second. Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, is cruising up front. He has a massive 25 second gap.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Kimi Raikkonen's tyre's have fallen off the cliff as they say. He is in big trouble now, he's gone from second to 10th in one lap."


    Fantastic stuff between Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber with the McLaren getting side-by-side with the Red Bull but the Australian holds on. Just in front Sebastian Vettel puts a move round the outside of Kimi Raikkonen for second place at Turn 6. And then Mark Webber has a go but runs wide which means Hamilton can finally get by. He then sets off in pursuit of Raikkonen and slides by into Turn 14. This is a nightmare for Raikkonen.

    LAP 48

    It's looking very good for Nico Rosberg if his team radio is anything to go by: "Take is very easy on the left front. You can afford to lose half a second a lap."

    LAP 47

    Second to fifth - Raikkonen, Vettel, Button, Webber, Hamilton - are still separated by just two seconds. It'll all come down to who has looked after their tyres better.


    Dear, oh dear. Romain Grosjean does exactly what Fernando Alonso did a few laps ago, running wide onto the marbles and out onto the grass. He comes back onto the track alongside Pastor Maldonado and the two bang wheels as they fight for position. They bang wheels again as Maldonado refuses to give up, but eventually he's pushed out wide and is forced to tuck back in. Sergio Perez tries to take advantage, but he gets backed up which lets Fernando Alonso pass the Sauber. The Mexican is having none of it, though, and repasses the Spaniard a couple of corners later.

    LAP 45

    Nico Rosberg is looking comfortable up front and now has a 22.6 second lead over the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen. He could even pit for a new set of tyres and still come out in the lead which is a lovely position to be in.

    LAP 44

    Lewis Hamilton is slowly clawing his way back into this race. He's seventh after a pass on Bruno Senna. He is told by his team that Mark Webber is next up on tyres that are five laps older than his.

    LAP 43

    Fernando Alonso tries to bully Pastor Maldonado by going around the outside of the Williams driver, but he gets out on the marbles and slides of the track. He rejoins, but Sergio Perez has managed to get by in the melee.

    LAP 42

    There's an incredible battle going on for second at the moment. Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button are seperated by less than six tenths of a second.

    LAP 41

    Nico Rosberg is told by his team that all he has to do is look after his tyres as he has a 19 second lead with 15 laps to go. How must the German be feeling? This will be his first victory in 111 attempts and the third different winner this year, in a third different car.

    LAP 40

    Felipe Massa is having a great race and is currently running second. He's got to stop again, mind, and is holding everyone up, but he won't care. He just wants some points.

    BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards

    "Jenson Button's hopes of winning this grand prix have just gone out of the window, even if Nico Rosberg has a problem."


    RACE UPDATE: 1 Rosberg, 2 Massa, 3 Raikkonen, 4 Vettel, 5 Button, 6 Grosjean, 7 Senna, 8 Webber, 9 Maldonado, 10 Hamilton

    PIT STOP- LAP 39

    Unbelievably, we've still only had one retirement - the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher. Jenson Button leads by 7.4 seconds but he flies down the pit-lane rather than heading onto the pit straight. It's great news for Nico Rosberg as Button's stop goes all wrong. He's stuck there for what feels like an eternity. He eventually gets away but he rejoins sixth, behind Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Nightmare.

    LAP 38

    Jenson Button asks what times Nico Rosberg is doing to which his team tell him the Mercedes is 0.7 seconds slower. However, there must have been a delay in that team radio because Rosberg has been quicker on the last two laps. Great pit work from McLaren and Ferrari as Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso pit. Hamilton retains his position with ease and rejoins the track.

    LAP 37

    Sebastian Vettel has closed up onto the back of Kamui Kobayashi in the battle for seventh but we've just seen a sensational shot of Mark Webber who has run wide at Turn 13, clattered the kerb and launched the front of his Red Bull up in the air. It's not quite as extravagent as that European Grand Prix clash in Valencia a few years ago, but spectacular nonetheless. He keeps control of the car and continues on his way but I suspect the FIA will need to check that kerb post-race. We don't need any launchpads.

    LAP 36

    Sergio Perez has had enough of those tyres and he's forced into the pits for some new boots. Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado, who is 13th, sets the fastest lap of the race but the focus is on the action up front where Jenson Button leads from Nico Rosberg. The gap is 9.5 seconds, but he needs another 12-13 seconds so he can pit and retain the lead. Let's see what your made of Jense.

    LAP 35

    Our race leader Nico Rosberg has pitted from the lead and rejoins ahead of Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton who are still battling tooth and nail. Fernando Alonso closes up to the back of the duo and fancies a bit of the action. The two are old McLaren team-mates so this could get interesting.


    James Butler on Twitter: "Felipe, my granddad's Rover 216 is faster than you."

    PIT STOP- LAP 34

    Sergio Perez is in all sorts of bother. It's a massive lock up for the Sauber driver into the hairpin, but he manages to stay in front of Lewis Hamilton and then defends his position on the start-finish straight. Sauber tell him to try and get two or three more laps on these tyres. Mark Webber has had enough of sitting behind these two and dives into the pits.

    LAP 33

    Jenson Button, who is running second and currently the fastest man on the track, is told by his team that he is still in this race to win. The McLaren driver is 14.5 seconds behind leader Nico Rosberg so it looks like we're in for a grandstand finish. Lewis Hamilton is having a terrible time trying to pass the Sauber of Sergio Perez. He just can't get close, even with the DRS. The result is that he has fallen into the clutches of Mark Webber who tries a move around the outside before tucking back in.

    LAP 32

    Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne, who started the race in the pit-lane, sets the fastest lap of the race. Unfortunately for him, he's down in 17th with a points-paying position 25 seconds up the road.

    LAP 31

    Turn 14 is the place to overtake it seems. Fernando Alonso puts a move on Paul di Resta into the hairpin for ninth place. Up front Nico Rosberg leads from Romain Grosjean and Jenson Button with Sebastian Vettel fourth. Paul di Resta is told by his team: "You're still in a race." Hmmm, that's helpful.

    LAP 30

    Felipe Massa is told by his engineer Rob Smedley that his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso is on a different strategy so let him the Spaniard by. That must be a sickening feeling. Elsewhere, Jenson Button puts a move on Sebastian Vettel which contrastingly must be a brilliant feeling.


    McLaren driver Jenson Button team radio: "The cars in front of you are all on a lot older tyres so they are all there for the taking."

    LAP 29

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari: "Felipe Massa's just giving the positions to all the cars behind him! He should have closed the door much more on Hamilton." BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen replies: "Well, why don't you go over to Stefano Domencali and tell him if you want a driver who'll close the door on Hamilton, I'm your man?"

    LAP 28

    Lewis Hamilton continues his good progress, putting a move on Paul di Resta at the Turn 14 hairpin and then gets by the Williams on Bruno Senna for eighth. Great stuff from the McLaren driver. This is the Lewis of old. I say old, but you know what I mean.

    LAP 27

    Mark Webber puts a carbon copy move on Felipe Massa this time around to move up to 12th. It's all going wrong for the Brazilian here. He's like a sitting duck.

    LAP 26

    Lewis Hamilton finally makes a move stick, sliding down the inside of Felipe Massa into Turn 6. Nice, clean driving from both drivers there which makes a change, eh?


    Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher: "The front wheel got a bit loose, but I don't know what happened. I feel a bit sorry for one of my boys, but that's part of the game. Fingers crossed that Nico can get a good result for the team."

    BBC F1 Technical Analyst Gary Anderson

    "Both types of tyres are very competitive but it's about how well your cars work with their tyres. It's important to work with both sets and the end of the race will be helped by who makes the right decisions."

    PIT STOP- LAP 25

    Jenson Button dives into the pits and though it's a clean stop for the McLaren team, the 2009 world champion finds himself stuck behind the Williams of Pastor Maldonado. He goes side-by-side with the Venezuelan but can't make it stick early in the lap. But once he gets onto the long straight, he flicks the DRS switch and breezes by the Williams to minimise the time lost. Good stuff. Lewis Hamilton isn't having much luck with his nemesis Felipe Massa, but they're both being sensible about it for now.

    LAP 24

    Further down the field, it's interesting to see that Heikki Kovalainen in the Caterham is just two seconds behind one of the established team drivers, namely Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso. That's a great performance from the Finn who is currently 18th.

    LAP 23

    Lewis Hamilton is closing the gap on Felipe Massa. No where have I seen that before?

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "That's the second of what we expect to be a three-stop race for Lewis Hamilton. The drivers at this stage of the race, while the cars are still relatively heavy, are having to drive with their fingertips.


    RACE UPDATE: 1 Rosberg, 2 Button, 3 Hamilton, 4 Raikkonen, 5 Alonso, 6 Kobayashi, 7 Grosjean, 8 Vettel, 9 Perez, 10 Senna.

    PIT STOP- LAP 22

    Lewis Hamilton pits from third place. Another great stop from McLaren and away he goes. There's no Kimi Raikkonen to get in the way this time, so he can calmly file out of the pits before rejoining the track behind Felipe Massa but ahead of Mark Webber.

    LAP 21

    Mark Webber is the first man to make his second stop after 15 laps on those tyres. It's another set of medium tyres and he rejoins 14th, behind Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso is making gains on the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen. The Spaniard is demonstrating that the race pace of the scarlet car isn't as bad as their one-lap qualifying pace.

    LAP 20

    Felipe Massa finally pits which means Nico Rosberg reclaims the lead of the Chinese Grand Prix from Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. The Ferrari driver exits the pits and rejoins 14th so that's not really worked out for the Brazilian.

    LAP 19

    We're just hearing from BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow that Lewis Hamilton was told to use his Kers boost button in the pit-lane when he was side-by-side with Kimi Raikkonen. Smart move. Sergio Perez is having a nightmare, running massively wide which lets Sebastian Vettel slide through for an easy pass and is now 10th.

    LAP 18

    So Felipe Massa leads from Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber who has actually benefitted from making that very early stop. Kimi Raikkonen is next up, with Fernando Alonso leading the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi. Sergio Perez tries a move around the outisde of Romain Grosjean into Turn 1, but he can't quite make it stick and we're as we were in the battle for ninth.

    LAP 17

    Just as I say that, Sauber's Sergio Perez pits after locking a front right into the hairpin. He rejoined behind Romain Grosjean but ahead of Sebastian Vettel. That is not what the Red Bull driver would have hoped for. That means we have a new leader in the form of Felipe Massa. Who would have thought it, eh? He's out of sync with everyone else obviously, but he'll no doubt enjoy it while it lasts. We have to go back to 2008 to find the last time the Brazilian saw P1 on his pitboard.

    LAP 16

    Nico Rosberg has set the fastest lap of the race on the medium compound tyre as he looks to extend the gap over Jenson Button in fourth. Sergio Perez leads from Felipe Massa with both drivers yet to stop.

    BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards

    "Nico Rosberg has gone on to the harder tyres but he does have a brand new set of the softer tyres if he wants them because he only used one set in qualifying, so he does have the luxury there."

    LAP 15

    Sergio Perez finds himself in the lead of the Chinese Grand Prix. The Mexican, who finished second in Malaysia, is in the form of his life at the moment. We know he's kind on his tyres, but if he keeps this pace and manages to stop once fewer than everyone else, he could be in with a shout of a second podium.


    RACE UPDATE: After the first round of pit stops. 1 Rosberg, 2 Perez, 3 Alonso, 4 Button, 5 Massa, 6 Senna, 7 Button, 8 Hamilton, 9 Webber, 10 Raikkonen.


    Seconds later, there's more misery for Michael Schumacher who pulls off the track. We've just seen a replay of the pitstop and it's clear the wheel-gun man doesn't get the bolt on the wheel. The car is released and the mechanic bangs his hand down on the floor in frustration as he didn't signal he was clear. A sloppy mistake.

    PIT STOP- LAP 13

    Just as I say that, Michael Schumacher pits for the medium compound tyre. It looks like a clean stop, but as he comes out Jenson Button is right there and the McLaren driver makes the pass as Schumacher runs wide.

    LAP 12

    BBC F1 commentator David Coulthard makes an interesting point - we have all been talking about Mercedes' tyrewear, but they are the two cars who are still out there while both McLarens and Red Bulls having pitted for new boots.

    LAP 11

    Everyone looks to be reacting to Mark Webber's move to change onto the medium tyres, with Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen pitting at the same time. The two drivers come out side-by-side in the pit-lane with Lewis marginally ahead. Great wheel-to-wheel racing in the pit-lane but Raikkonen has to back off and Hamilton makes the pass. The duo come out just as Webber comes through. The Brit makes it through, but Raikkonen has to battle with Webber, and ultimately loses out when Webber holds his line, forcing the Lotus out wide. Super racing from both drivers.

    LAP 10

    Sebastian Vettel is the second man into the pits, bolting on a set of fresh medium tyres. His Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber has just set the fastest lap of the race so it could be the right move. Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg has pitted for a new nose after getting in the wars.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "Mmm. That's quite a gap Rosberg has built over Schumacher - 4.1 seconds after eight laps. The thought does occur as to whether Mercedes have asked Michael to back the field up so Rosberg can build a big gap in the first stint. With a new set of tyres to use in the second stint, that would put Rosberg in a very strong position to win the race."


    Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively are closing the gap on each other every lap. There's just over a second between them. Three pure racers all together. This could get very interesting.


    So Mark Webber is the harder compound tyres, so his rivals will be keeping a keen eye on his lap times to see if that is the way to go. The Australian is down in 20th, but he's gone purple in the first two sectors and looks to be making the most of the fresher rubber.


    Nico Rosberg has eeked out his lead to three seconds over Michael Schumacher who has a crucial 1.1 second lead over Jenson Button to keep him out of the DRS activation zone. Kimi Raikkonen is showing impressive pace too in the Lotus and is just 0.6 seconds behind the McLaren driver.


    Mark Webber gambles by pitting really early for a new set of boots. BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson thinks it was because the Australian was stuck in traffic and the team have decided to pit him to get him running in clean air. Will they try a similar move with Sebastian Vettel?


    Sebastian Vettel reports that he is "nowhere on the straights" as he struggles to close the gap on Paul di Resta in front of him. The German is clearly frustrated to be running in the midfield. Romain Grosjean has a little look at Felipe Massa at the Turn 14 hairpin but can't make a move.

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow:

    "Drivers are reporting that the final corner [Turn 16] is slippery."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "I think the Sauber drivers really have the confidence to be able to push and lean on these tyres." After that start by Kamui Kobayashi, he'll really hope the car is kind on its tyres so he can claw some places back.


    Jenson Button's McLaren team tell him "that was a great start" before asking him to focus on pulling away from the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen behind so that the Finn can't use the DRS. David Coulthard speculates that Mercedes may use Michael Schumacher as a buffer so Nico Rosberg can build a lead and protect himself as the car is traditionally harder on it's tyres.


    Mark Webber had another trademark bad start, dropping from sixth to ninth and now finds himself in a Ferrari sandwich between Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. Bruno Senna is told by his team that the damage on his car from a slight touch on Massa at the start isn't a major problem and he doesn't need to pit.


    Nico Rosberg sets the fastest lap of the race to pull out a 1.1 second lead over team-mate Michael Schumacher. That's crucial because he needs to have a gap of more than one second to prevent his team-mate using the DRS when it is enabled on the next lap.


    As David Coulthard says, further back Sebastian Vettel had a nightmare start and now finds himself battling with the Williams of Pastor Maldonado. Now we'll see what the reigning world champion is really made off. Lewis Hamilton had a great start, too, leaping up to fifth and keeping a fast starting Sergio Perez behind. Kamui Kobayashi is down to seventh with Fernando Alonso for company.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Not only has Sebastian Vettel had a terrible qualifiying but also a terrible start as he's down to 15th place."


    It's the perfect start for Nico Rosberg who bolts away from pole position to lead into Turn One. Michael Schumacher gets bogged down but maintains his second position. It's an incredible start from Jenson Button who leaps from fifth to third with Kamui Kobayashi the big loser there. Shockingly, everyone got through the first corner unscathed.

  120. 0803: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Everyone has lined up in their grid slots, race director Charlie Whiting hits the button and out go the lights for the Chinese Grand Prix.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "It's seven years since Nico Rosberg has sat on pole position and what he has got to do is make sure he doesn't arrive on the grid with too much temperature in their tyres which will affect them."

  122. 0800: 

    We have lift off, people. Cue raised heartbeat. Nico Rosberg shows no nerves and pulls away cleanly to lead the field away on the formation lap. The German could be sitting on his pole spot for up to a minute while he waits for the rest of the grid to line up so he'll be hoping his Mercedes doesn't overheat.

  123. 0759: 

    So just to give you a quick rundown, we have Nico Rosberg starting on pole for the first time in 110 starts alongside Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher - which is the latter's best start since his return in 2010. Kamui Kobayashi is third, Kimi Raikkonen fourth, Jenson Button fifth and Mark Webber sixth. Lewis Hamilton is seventh after a penalty and Sebastian Vettel 11th after a poor qualifying.

  124. 0757: 

    Lewis Hamilton has a new helmet design for this race. At the back of his usual colour scheme is a caricature of him sailing in a Chinese 'junk' boat. Fast, a remote control car whizz and artistic, is there any end to your talents?

  125. 0755: 

    Right then, folks. We're just five minutes away from the formation lap and the grid is starting to clear away. Everyone except for a few crucial mechanics, and obviously the drivers, have been ushered away.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "There is a widespread belief that this is going to be a 'humdinger' of a race. The Mercedes at the front of the grid are believed to be about 0.5 seconds a lap slower than the McLarens on race pace, judging by Friday practice. So they are likely to hold people up. Kamui Kobayashi and Kimi Raikkonen behind them know that if they get past early on, they could quickly build a gap that would likely win them the race. And Kobayashi's Sauber is 7km/h quicker on the straight. Equally, Lewis Hamilton knows he needs to make up ground quickly. It's a case of sit back, settle down and wait for the action."


    Force India driver Paul di Resta on his car and his birthday: "The race car [set-up] performed well on Friday afternoon, so I'm optimistic we can go forward. We've got more important things to think about than my birthday. I'm just getting older!"


    Samantha Pett on Twitter: "Excited for Merc but keeping calm as I seem to have jinxed the last 2 races! 1 & 2 on the podium please!"

    Niall Hughes on Twitter: "I also had Neptune yesterday and I've got a fiver on Schumacher so 2 in a row please!"

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "Different teams are giving different information on strategy. Some say it's likely to be a three-stop race because a two-stop strategy would leave drivers too exposed with low grip at the end of the stints. Others think it's a definite two-stopper. People trying for a two-stop will be trying to stretch the first stop out to around lap 19, a three-stop is more like lap 14. The 'soft' tyre is about 0.3-0.4 secs a lap quicker in race trim but the 'medium' is quicker after about 15 or 16 laps."

  130. 0749: 

    Lewis Hamilton rolls his earplugs in his fingers, pops them in his ear and then hides himself away in that iconic yellow helmet. Interestingly, none of the team are talking to him right now as he gets into the car and belts himself in. This is his time to mentally prepare and from seventh on the grid, boy does he have a lot to think about.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "Sebastian Vettel is in the unfamiliar position of starting 11th - the first time he has been outside the top 10 since Brazil 2009. He refused to blame the fact that he has been running the car in older specification here, reverting pretty much to the rear bodywork and exhaust position with which the car was launched rather than the update that was introduced at the final test, and which team-mate Mark Webber is sticking with. But it's pretty clear that's what's to blame - Vettel said he got everything out of the car. It puts him in an interesting position. He prefers the car in the older spec, which is slower. And Webber has now out-qualified him three races in a row. One of the Australian's favourite phrases is 'all good, mate'. Apart from the actual pace of the car, one imagines that's exactly how he's feeling about this situation."


    Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi: "The key is to not take any risks at the start because that would be foolish. The car is ready for the long haul and the aim is a podium finish."

  133. 0743: 

    The Williams boys have lined up on the grid for a team photo to celebrate Sir Frank Williams 70th birthday which he celebrates on Monday. Nice touch lads.


    Red Bull designer Adrian Newey who DC spots looking at rival cars: "It's the usual thing, we all have a look at each other's cars. It's unlikely we'll copy it, but we might have to look at something like the Mercedes DRS system. We are a young team. We've had a great deal of success over last couple of years but F1 dictates that's not going to last forever. It's just heads down and get on with it."

  135. 0738: 

    The cars have parked up on the grid which their mechanics beavering away making final adjustments. There's a fair few guests and media-types out there, too, namely Jake, EJ and DC. Let's see who they can find...

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "I watched Lewis Hamilton on Saturday and I really think he can win. I know no one has ever won the race from outside the top seven but I think he can."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "Kamui Kobayashi qualified a stunning fourth for Sauber - which becomes third following Lewis Hamilton's penalty - and team-mate Sergio Perez is not that far behind in seventh on the grid. Fernando Alonso, leading the world championship after beating Perez to victory in Malaysia three weeks ago, was asked if he was surprised at Sauber's pace. 'No,' he said. Why not? 'They were one of the quickest in winter testing, one of the quickest in Australia, they maybe deserved the win in Malaysia, so\u2026" The Sauber car - whose white livery is untroubled by sponsors logos - is indeed clearly very quick. Could Kobayashi actually win? The Japanese says he is 'not a dreamer' but he 'goes into the race with a lot of confidence'. And there is an interesting omen. Sauber's one and only F1 win so far was courtesy of the much-missed Robert Kubica in Canada in 2008, when they were BMW's works team. Team founder Peter Sauber did not attend that race - and he's not here in China either."


    McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who will start seventh: "I would be massively disappointed if I got six years down to the line and I still only had one title. I want to have more championships and I was to have more wins."

  139. 0735: 

    We've flown back in time on BBC One right now with shots of Lewis Hamilton appearing on Blue Peter as a kid, racing a remote control car. Flash forward to today and Jake has set up a track inside the McLaren Technology Centre for a race re-run. Suffice to say Lewis has some skills, while Jake has an air of Yuji Ide or Taki Inoue about him...

  140. 0730: 

    Our pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie has just caught up with Michael Schumacher in the pit-lane. As usual, the German is calmness personified, refusing to give anything away. "Everybody is excited about the result on Saturday and now we look forward to enjoying the afternoon." Will you try and get your nose in front into Turn 1 asks McKenzie? "Absolutely, I will try but we are both clever enough to manage ourselves and not harm our chances. We want to make it a good result for Mercedes."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "Had he been starting from his rightful position on the front row, Lewis Hamilton would be a strong favourite for this race but, fighting back from seventh place following his penalty for changing his gearbox, his first priority will be to try to finish on the podium. He has made that his target for all the races this year in his attempt to achieve the consistency he believes will make him world champion. But Hamilton himself admits that he never knows when one of his brilliant, improvisational wins is just around the corner. 'I have absolutely no ideas,' he said. 'I never plan to have those kinds of races, they just evolve unexpectedly.' Will this be one of them?"

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "The pole position is clearly on the wrong side, if you ask all the drivers I think they'll agree but they just have to get on with it. I am sure Nico will just be happy to be on pole."

  143. 0720: 

    The pole-sitter has lost the lead in the last two races according to Jake, which is bad news for Nico Rosberg. BBC F1 commentator David Coulthard believes the pole slot is on the wrong side of the grid, because it's on the dirtier side of the grid. With that in mind, it's advantage Michael Schumacher.


    Simon Bower on Twitter: "1. Ham 2. Web 3. But. Pulled out neptune collonges yesterday too so I'm feeling hot!"

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "Although they have been preparing for a race this weekend, many people here have been preoccupied by the thought of the next one in Bahrain. Most people are uncomfortable to one degree or another about going there, but the teams are not only not saying so publicly, but did not even reveal their concerns to Bernie Ecclestone in a meeting on Friday. Why not? 'I don't know,' said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. 'I don't think there was much point in doing so.' To his credit, Whitmarsh at least subjected himself to a proper grilling on the subject in a news conference on Saturday, when he was asked about the contrast between the pictures drawn of the situation in Bahrain by the FIA and Amnesty International. He said: 'On the human rights issues, I can understand it being a subject you'd like us to be drawn in and debate but just as we sit here in China, it's inappropriate for us to comment on similar issues here. Bahrain is on the calendar. We've had it reaffirmed by the FIA and the commercial rights holder in the last 24 hours, so as far as we are concerned we're going there to race.'"


    Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery: "The difference between the two compounds is expected to be between 0.6-0.8 seconds per lap and two to three pit stops expected per car. Tyre degradation in China is traditionally quite high and the teams were clearly trying to save tyres where they could on Saturday so tyre strategy is clearly going to be crucial."

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    On the Bahrain GP: "I don't care who's in the grandstand in Bahrain, we have a contract and have to honour it. FIA president Jean Todt and the FIA are confirming to us that everything is normal. We are in their hands and we have to trust them."


    Mercedes Nico Rosberg, who starts on pole: "It was a strange feeling getting pole because I was watching the end of Q3 from the FIA garage as we decided to save a set of option tyres for the race, and I couldn't do anything but watch. Seeing that I finished at the top of the timesheets and with half a second in hand made me the happiest man."


    Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn: "It does reflect on the potential of the car. We have to translate the qualifying results yesterday into race results. We would have liked to have started at the front of the grid instead of nearer the back though. Today is being an important day, we've had some consistent conditions this weekend so we can get a better measure of what we need to do ongoing after today. We are all very proud of the Silver Arrows. Our race pace didn't look the best on Friday but it depends on how the tyres work in the conditions today."

  150. 0710: 

    Jake and EJ have cornered Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn to have a quick chat. The former Ferrari man is looking understandable pleased with himself after watching his cars lock-out the front row, but he's realistic in his hopes for the race. Here's what he had to say.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "Nico Rosberg's pole position was a landmark not only for his Mercedes team, for whom it was the first one since Monza 1955, but also the German himself, who took 110 races to achieve it. It was a relief in many ways - as he has been accused to bottling it so far this year now Mercedes have a good car, making mistakes in qualifying in both Australia and Malaysia and being beaten by team-mate Michael Schumacher, who Rosberg has comfortably had the measure of in qualifying in the previous two seasons. It was a stunning lap - 0.5secs clear of the field - and one that Rosberg described as 'perfect'. It certainly looked that way, the car visibly right on the edge on the long, fast entry into Turn One. But Rosberg is well aware that winning the race is another matter altogether - Mercedes have struggled for race pace so far this year. 'Of course it's pretty clear I think that in the race we been not quite as good as in qualifying lately,' he said. 'We've worked very hard to try and improve that but it's not something you can change in a few weeks.'"


    Lewis Allen on Twitter: "1st Hamilton his form is unbeatable 2nd Button the McLarren had good race pace 3rd Webber about time luck goes his way."

  153. 0705: 

    Grid entertainment update: We've now got a Chinese boyband singing 'World Of Our Own' by Westlife. In Chinese. Behind them a number of giant chrome balls are being rolled into view, which then turn into a car, which 'drives' off up the circuit. Lovely.

  154. 0700: 

    We're go, go, go on BBC One folks and the first thing to note is that EJ has delivered another belter of a shirt. It's a bright pink flowery number which looks as eccentric as ever next to the lilac of Jake and the light blue of DC.

  155. 0655: 

    We're just about to go live on BBC One with Jake, DC and EJ, so this is your five minute warning to top up on tea and replenish food stocks. And if you fancy listening on the wireless, James Allen and Jaime Alguersuari will be with you on BBC Radio 5 live.


    Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso on Twitter: "The qualifying has left us some grid positions more or less expected, and we must prepare a good race strategy. There will be exciting race!"

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "Toro Rosso'sJean-Eric Vergne will be starting from the pit-lane after the team changed his rear bodywork following a disappointing qualifying session. The Frenchman, who has looked impressive in the first two races of his career, was nearly 0.8 secs slower than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Vergne said on Saturday that he had no idea why he was "so slow" and has now abandoned the updates that Toro Rosso brought here and reverted his car to Malaysia spec. This is against F1's 'parc ferme' rules, so he has to start from the pit-lane. Ricciardo is sticking with the new parts."

  158. 0652: 

    The 5.451km circuit is built on a former swamp and is supported by a buoyant polystyrene 'sandwich' which includes over 40,000 concrete piles, some of which go 80m deep into the soft earth. The track was also built at such a fast pace - it was completed in around 18 months - that it is vulnerable to subsistence, hence the bumpy nature.

  159. 0650: 

    Here's a couple of facts to tickle your taste buds, peeps. Seven different drivers have won the eight races held in China with Lewis Hamilton the only man to have won twice - in 2008 and 2011. The 2008 world champion could have won in 2007 as well, had he pitted for new tyres rather than staying out and ultimately sliding off into the gravel - but we won't dwell on that.

  160. 0648: 

    There's some awesome crazy dancing going on on the pit straight right now to keep the fans in the grandstands entertained. We've got men in black head-to-toe lycra suits waving giant pieces of cardboard Rolf Harris style, a dance troupe of men dressed in Wario, from the Mario brothers, gear throwing some shapes and two chaps covered in what looks like tinfoil and perched up on huge stilts just stomping around. Sensational scenes.


    BBC F1 weatherman Ian Fergusson: "Rain has been clearing east, leaving a 'green' circuit. I expect it to be dry & mostly cloudy for the race; hazy with an air tempertaure of around 18-19 Celcius."

  162. 0645: 

    One member of our team thinks Kamui Kobayashi will win but I'll steer clear of that outlandish claim. Instead, I'm going for 1) Lewis Hamilton2) Kimi Raikkonen3) Sebastian Vettel. Why? Because Hamilton is a machine on this track, Raikkonen has a big result in him and Vettel will be a man scorned. Over to you.

  163. 0643: 

    As it's race day, it's time to introduce Lawro's Podium Predictions. I'll give you my top three and then invite you lot to give me yours with a quirky reason why - because otherwise, it'll just be a list of names. Simple. You can do it by tweeting me @lawrobarretto using the #bbcf1 hashtag or by dropping me a text on 81111 (UK only).

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "It's hard to remember a grand prix for which it is more difficult to pick a favourite. On pace, judging from the two days of practice, you'd pick McLaren's Lewis Hamilton - but he is down in seventh place after a penalty for changing his gearbox. Team-mate Jenson Button hasn't really looked quick enough so far and starts fifth. The two Mercedes are on the front row of the grid but their race pace has not been a match for their qualifying speed so far this season. Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber was hugely impressive in taking fourth place - which is third after Hamilton's demotion - but can he live with the big beasts of the F1 jungle? Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus is a dark horse in fourth on the grid, but his team have had to remove new parts from their car after they failed to work, while others have added some to theirs, so his potential is unclear. Mark Webber's Red Bull looks dangerous in sixth place as their race pace has been strong, and even his team-mate Sebastian Vettel in 11th could be a contender. It's a fascinating and intriguing prospect."


    Force India driver Paul di Resta on Twitter: "Just about the have a pre-race espresso. Looking forward to the race."

  166. 0640: 

    Kamui Kobayashi was one of the stars of Saturday, hooking together an inch-perfect lap to secure third, his best qualifying position and the best ever for a Japanese driver in the history of Formula 1. The Japanese has a best race finish of fifth (at last year's Monaco Grand Prix) and will need to finish second or better in today's race to set a new Japanese record. Takuma Sato and Aguri Suzuki jointly hold the current record, if you were wondering, with third places at the 2004 United States Grand Prix and 1990 Italian Grand Prix respectively.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Shanghai

    "This is a place of contrasts. It's one of the biggest and fastest-expanding cities in the world, of which the novelist Chen Danyan said: 'Living in Shanghai is like being in a speeding car, unable to focus on all the images streaming past. All you can do is sit back and feel the wind in your face.' Yet there is a Zen-like beauty in the carefully manicured trees and plants that line the countless roads. Prestige cars are as common as in the English stockbroker belt, but the country's pre-industrial past lives on in the bicycles that dodge the blaring traffic at almost every junction. The Shanghai International Circuit is a monument to China's future in the heartland of its present-day industry and many who live in this throbbing heart of the country's economic success are fascinated by Formula 1, a sport that represents the old Europe which feeds off their labour. Yet most can't afford to attend the race that was set up to foster links between the two. A race which, on its ninth anniversary, is set up to produce exactly the sort of spectacle that would help cement them."

  168. 0635: 

    Welcome to the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix, round three on a 20-race calendar, at the Shanghai International Circuit. We have got ourselves a third successive silver car front row - only this time, it's two Mercedes rather than two McLarens - with Michael Schumacher joining Nico Rosberg up front. Better still we've got Kamui Kobayashi and Kimi Raikkonen - two overtaking machines - on the second row and Lewis Hamilton back in seventh and desperate to make up lost ground after a five-place penalty. Could this grid be any better?

  169. 0630: 

    You have to go back to 1955 and the Italian Grand Prix to find the last time a Mercedes started a Formula 1 race on pole position. At that time it was Juan Manuel Fangio, the legendary Argentinian who won five World Championships with four different teams - Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes and Alfa Romeo - who took the honour. On Saturday, Nico Rosberg was the man to end years of waiting with a mindblowing lap that is as close to perfection as I've ever seen. Whether he'll go on to the great things Fangio achieved, who knows? But one things for sure, the Silver Arrow is well and truly back in the fight.

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Formula 1 World Championship 2014

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 220
2 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 191
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 156
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari 119
5 Finland V Bottas Williams 110
6 Germany S Vettel Red Bull 98
7 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 69
8 Great Britain J Button McLaren 66
9 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren 45
10 Brazil F Massa Williams 40
11 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 39
12 Mexico S Perez Force India 31
13 France J Vergne Toro Rosso 11
14 France R Grosjean Lotus 8
15 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 7
16 France J Bianchi Marussia 2
17 Germany A Sutil Sauber 0
18 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham 0
19 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
20 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber 0
21 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia 0
23 A Lotterer Caterham 0


After 44 of 44 laps
Position Driver Team

Race completed

1 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
2 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes
3 Finland V Bottas Williams
4 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
5 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
6 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
7 Great Britain J Button McLaren
8 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
9 Mexico S Perez Force India
10 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
11 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
12 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
13 Brazil F Massa Williams
14 Germany A Sutil Sauber
15 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber
16 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
17 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
18 France J Bianchi (ret.) Marussia
19 Great Britain L Hamilton (ret.) Mercedes
20 France R Grosjean (ret.) Lotus
21 Venezuela P Maldonado (ret.) Lotus
22 A Lotterer (ret.) Caterham