Nico Rosberg achieved his first F1 career victory on this day in 2012 and gave Mercedes their first victory since 1955, the day after winning his first pole position, which marked a new, hugely successful chapter in Mercedes’ F1 history.

McLaren swept the front row in the first two races of the season in Australia and Malaysia, but in the third race of the season in China it was Mercedes’ turn with Rosberg and Schumacher, the first time since the 1955 F1 season in Italy when they occupied first three starting places with Fangio, Moss and Kling.

Mercedes attracted attention with an innovative double DRS system that, in addition to the usual rear wing moveable flap it had ducts in the rear wing endplates used to feed the duct system leading all the way to the front wing, reducing downforce and air resistance at the front, similiar to McLaren’s 2010 F-duct system. It was declared legal on the eve of Chinese GP after discussions in the first two races in Australia and Malaysia.

Rosberg drove a fantastic lap, 0.505 faster than Hamilton and won his first Formula 1 pole position, but as Hamilton received a five place grid penalty for changing gearbox, Schumacher started second and completed the first row for Mercedes.

Hamilton Rosberg Michael Schumacher China F1 2012 post qual
Photo: Daimler
Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher 2012 Chinese GP Mercedes F1 W03 Photo Daimler Edited by MAXF1net
Photo: Daimler

Mercedes mechanics did not secure the wheel well on Schumacher’s car during the first stop in the lap 12 so the seven-time world champion had to retire early (the only driver to retire in this race), and Rosberg entered the pits one lap later and retained the lead comfortably.

How quickly tyres were degrading with full tanks out is evident from the fact that as many as 16 drivers had already made their first stops before Rosberg’s 13th lap change.

Rosberg had great control over tyre degradation on the track where the front tyres are the limiting factor, which was more suited to the Mercedes W03 which consumed the rear tyres more, balancing the tyre wear on their car. He won with over 20 seconds ahead of Button and Hamilton in their McLarens MP4-27s.

Mercedes was also aided by cooler conditions with a track temperature of 24 degrees Celsius and an air temperature of 22 degrees that reduced tyre wear and overheating.

Rosberg’s victory is the first victory for a German driver in a German car in Formula 1 history and the first for Mercedes since September 11 1955 at the Italian GP and this is also the first race since the 2009 Italian GP at which Ferrari, McLaren or Red Bull did not win (Brawn Mercedes drivers Barrichello and Button secured 1-2 victory).

Photo: Daimler

Fourth and fifth were Red Bull drivers Webber and Vettel while Grosjean in Lotus finished sixth ahead of two Williams drivers Senna and Maldonado. Alonso, after winning in rainy conditions in the last race in Malaysia, was only ninth, with Kobayashi scoring last point in Sauber, after started third behind two Mercedes drivers and setting the fastest lap of the race, the only one in his F1 career.

“This is a very special moment for me. The whole weekend went perfectly,” Rosberg said after the first of 23 Formula One victories.

“My first pole position, and now my first Formula One win, really fantastic. But not only that, this is the first win for the new silver arrows and this great team, it’s really special for me.”

“Thanks to everyone in the team, here in China and at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth, for improving the car so quickly, it makes me very proud. I will never forget this race, and for the last 20 laps it has seemed like I have been driving 24h of Le Mans!”

Photo: Daimler

“But when I crossed the line it was so intense. We will enjoy this success, but we are still standing firmly on the ground. We are still not where we want to be, but we are still working hard to understand the car and tyres in all conditions and continue to push to further improve our speed in the race. We’ll see how that turns out in Bahrain. “

This was the only victory of the season for Mercedes in which seven drivers were victorius in the first seven races, and they waited for the next victory until 2013 Monaco GP where Rosberg won from pole position.


18Nico RosbergMercedes1:35.121
314Kamui KobayashiSauber/Ferrari1:35.7840.663
49Kimi RäikkönenLotus/Renault1:35.8980.777
53Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Mercedes1:36.1911.070
62Mark WebberRed Bull/Renault1:36.2901.169
74Lewis HamiltonMcLaren/Mercedes1:35.6260.505
  5 place grid penalty for gearbox change
815Sergio PérezSauber/Ferrari1:36.5241.403
95Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:36.6221.501
1010Romain GrosjeanLotus/Renault
111Sebastian VettelRed Bull/Renault1:36.0310.910
126Felipe MassaFerrari1:36.2551.134
1318Pastor MaldonadoWilliams/Renault1:36.2831.162
1419Bruno SennaWilliams/Renault1:36.2891.168
1511Paul Di RestaForce India/Mercedes1:36.3171.196
1612Nico HülkenbergForce India/Mercedes1:36.7451.624
1716Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso/Ferrari1:36.9561.835
1921Vitaly PetrovCaterham/Renault1:38.6773.556
2024Timo GlockMarussia/Cosworth1:39.2824.161
2125Charles PicMarussia/Cosworth1:39.7174.596
2222Pedro de la RosaHRT/Cosworth1:40.4115.290
2417Jean-Éric VergneToro Rosso/Ferrari1:37.7142.593


18Nico RosbergMercedes561:36:26.929 
23Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Mercedes561:36:47.55520.626
34Lewis HamiltonMcLaren/Mercedes561:36:52.94126.012
42Mark WebberRed Bull/Renault561:36:54.85327.924
51Sebastian VettelRed Bull/Renault561:36:57.41230.483
610Romain GrosjeanLotus/Renault561:36:58.42031.491
719Bruno SennaWilliams/Renault561:37:01.52634.597
818Pastor MaldonadoWilliams/Renault561:37:02.57235.643
95Fernando AlonsoFerrari561:37:04.18537.256
1014Kamui KobayashiSauber/Ferrari561:37:05.64938.720
1115Sergio PérezSauber/Ferrari561:37:07.99541.066
1211Paul Di RestaForce India/Mercedes561:37:09.20242.273
136Felipe MassaFerrari561:37:09.70842.779
149Kimi RäikkönenLotus/Renault561:37:17.50250.573
1512Nico HülkenbergForce India/Mercedes561:37:18.14251.213
1617Jean-Éric VergneToro Rosso/Ferrari561:37:18.68551.756
1716Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso/Ferrari561:37:30.0851:03.156
1821Vitaly PetrovCaterham/Renault551:36:30.5541 lap
1924Timo GlockMarussia/Cosworth551:37:20.1541 lap
2025Charles PicMarussia/Cosworth551:37:20.5521 lap
2122Pedro de la RosaHRT/Cosworth551:38:03.2231 lap
2223N.KarthikeyanHRT/Cosworth541:37:15.2802 laps
2320H.KovalainenCaterham/Renault531:37:38.5453 laps

Fastest lap: Kamui Kobayashi – 1:39.960 (lap 40)


1Lewis Hamilton45  151515
2Jenson Button43  2518
3Fernando Alonso37  10252
4Mark Webber36  121212
5Sebastian Vettel28  1810
6Nico Rosberg25  25
7Sergio Pérez22  418
8Kimi Räikkönen16  610
9Bruno Senna14  86
10Kamui Kobayashi9  81
11Romain Grosjean8  8
12Paul Di Resta7  16
13Jean-Éric Vergne4  4
14Pastor Maldonado4  4
15Daniel Ricciardo2  2
16Nico Hülkenberg2  2
17M.Schumacher1  1
18Felipe Massa0  
19Timo Glock0  
20Charles Pic0  
21Vitaly Petrov0  
23Pedro de la Rosa0  


1McLaren/Mercedes88  401533
2Red Bull/Renault64  301222
3Ferrari37  10252
4Sauber/Ferrari31  12181
5Mercedes26  125
6Lotus/Renault24  6108
7Williams/Renault18  810
8Force India/Mercedes9  18
9Toro Rosso/Ferrari6  24
Photo: Daimler
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