Rosberg roars into life in China

Brendon Vella Roar Guru

By Brendon Vella, Brendon Vella is a Roar Guru

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    Nico Rosberg has had a great qualifying session in China AP Photo/Andy Wong

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    Following on from a brilliant start to the Championship in both Australia and Malaysia, the field has moved to the Shanghai International Circuit for the Chinese GP.

    Practice was again dominated by Mercedes and McLaren , with Lewis Hamilton being quick in both conditions, whilst Red Bull were consistent on the long runs.

    Once again though, Ferrari looked far from the race winning pace Fernando Alonso showed in the rain at Sepang. Felipe Massa finished 18th in FP3.

    For this qualifying session Hamilton was given a five place grid drop from where he finishes today, after a change of gearbox.

    Qualifying One

    So in the hazy, polluted air of Shanghai, qualifying got under way with Felipe Massa going out early in an obvious sign of Ferrari’s lack of pace, and his lack of performance.

    McLaren went out early also with a long hard compound run in mind. The hard compound tyre at Shanghai is about 0.7 seconds slower than the softer compound. Would be one of the biggest gaps on the calendar.

    An interesting development this weekend is the divide between the aero packages used by Vettel and Webber. Webber running with the newer technology found himself 0.23 seconds quicker than his teammate after the first run, and also on top of the leader board.

    With the pressure mounting on Ferrari once again, both drivers went out on their second runs with the soft tyre, with Massa taking top spot with 5 minutes to go, with Perez eclipsing that time and taking 1st spot.

    So the first to fall were Vergne, Kovalainen, Petrov, Glock, Pic, De La Rosa and Karthikeyan.

    Once again the Australian Daniel Ricciardo eclipses teammate Jean Eric Vergne in qualifying, another big confidence booster for him.

    Qualifying Two

    With the first 17 cars grouped within less than a second of each other in Q1, this session promised to be something special.

    So after the first round of runs, the two Mercedes were up top, with Rosberg on top. Hamilton followed, with Raikkonen and Kobayashi making up the top 5.

    Both Red Bull drivers on the softer compound tyres were far less comfortable than they were on the harder compound tyre. They found themselves 6th and 9th after their first runs.

    Felipe has looked like he has made gains with his car this round, with him finishing in 12th, but only 0.5 outside the fastest time, which was funnily enough set by Mark Webber.

    In an extraordinary last couple of minutes, Webber came alive to set the fastest time, but teammate Vettel, who had pole in the last three races in China found himself outside the top 10 who were grouped by only 0.3 seconds. The fight for pole would be immense.

    The last guys to fall were Vettel, Massa, Maldonaldo, Senna, Di Resta, Hulkenburg and Ricciardo

    Qualifying Three

    So if there was ever a time for Webber to strike with a race win, it would be here in China. Vettel not in the top 10, poor race pace of the Mercedes, and Hamilton having a 5 place grid drop, pole must be achieved.

    With many of the teams using two sets of softs in Q2. Rosberg was half a second up on Hamilton, Schumacher and Raikkonen. It was a brilliant lap, and it completely blew away the competition, with Rosberg parking the car and heading up to the weigh bridge after a satisfying Saturday.

    The one run drivers failed to ignite the session, with Webber finishing 7th, in a very inconsistent car. He though, will jump up to 6th, with Hamilton taking his grid drop.

    The final standings were Rosberg, Hamilton, Schumacher, Kobayashi, Raikkonen, Button, Webber, Perez, Alonso and Grosjean.

    It’s shaping up to be a phenomenal race. A front row lockout for the Mercedes due to the penalty of Hamilton is a great advantage for them to have, but so far there race pace has been dreadful, and they have only one Constructors point after the two races.

    With Button, Webber and Hamilton in 5,6,7 respectively on the grid, they will definitely have the speed to get the win, but can they get past guys like Raikkonen and Kobayashi, who both did a sterling job in qualifying?

    So many questions that will all be answered in an action packed race.

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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • April 16th 2012 @ 5:21pm
      William said | April 16th 2012 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

      I liked it how Nico Rosberg walked out with a few minutes left till Q3 has finished with a big smile on his face by saving a set of precious tyres as it can be crucial to save your tyres when it comes to the Race if he didn’t it could of cost him dearly and could finished DNF. Michael Schumacher did not finish with the rear left tyre not going on properly and Jenson Button sat there in the pits for about 10 sec stop as he had rear right tyre problems which cost him the race as Nico Rosberg went further in front of Button which led Rosberg to the Chinese Grand Prix by beating Button/Hamilton/Webber/Vettel by 20-30 seconds. McLaren still lead the Constructors Championship over Red Bull. This year is a lot more interesting instead of Vettel winning every single race with being different winners for every race. Romain Grojsean scored his best F1 career result.

    • April 19th 2012 @ 10:17am
      Bakes said | April 19th 2012 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      I see that TEN are broadcasting the GP on the 22/4/12 (Bahrain). Does this mean it will not be in HD? That would be a major disappointment if that were the case, though not bad enough to force me to watch a 12 year old movie on ONE.

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