Good morning and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
Formula One has been extremely open this year and harder to predict than ever. This was evident in yesterday's qualifying when two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel failed to make it to the top-ten shootout for the first time in 43 races.
Vettel's fellow German Nico Rosberg took his first ever pole position for Mercedes and is joined on the front row by teammate Michael Schumacher because of Lewis Hamilton's five-place grid penalty, which sees the Englishman start seventh.
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Turned out to be an comfortable victory for Rosberg but apart from that it was a great race behind him. Button will be downhearted because of the mistake in the pit lane but it's another good points haul for the British duo at McLaren. Hamilton (45) now leads the drivers' championship from Button (43), with Alonso (37), Webber (36) and Vettel (28) chasing. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for coverage, good morning!
Top ten: 1 Rosberg 2 Button 3 Hamilton 4 Webber 5 Vettel 6 Grosjean 7 Senna 8 Maldonado 9 Alonso 10 Kobayashi
Rosberg thanks his team after letting out a scream of delight. Great drive from the German who picks up his first points this year and more importantly now has a formula one victory to his name.
Lap 56: Button and Hamilton complete the top three with Red Bull duo Webber and Vettel following close behind.
Lap 56: NICO ROSBERG WINS THE CHINESE GRAND PRIX FOR HIS FIRST F1 VICTORY!
Lap 55: Webber passes Vettel for fourth! The Aussie makes it stick past his teammate.
Lap 55: Vettel's really struggling but can he hold off teammate Webber on the last two laps. Button is now lapping much quicker than Rosberg but it means nothing at such a late stage. Looks like McLaren will have two men on the podium now.
Lap 54: Hamilton passes Vettel into third!
Lap 54: Three laps to go. 1 Rosberg 2 Button 3 Vettel 4 Hamilton 5 Webber
Lap 53: Hamilton locks up and loses ground to Vettel, Webber senses a chance to past the Englishman but can't get close enough.
Lap 52: Button passes Vettel for second place! Barring a mistake there's no chance he's catching Rosberg. Vettel will have to defend from Hamilton now.
Lap 51: Six laps to go as Hamilton cuts the gap to Button who is trying to get past Vettel. The German has now been on the same set of tyres for 20 laps.
Lap 50: Great viewing to see a Grand Prix, aside from leader Rosberg who has a 25-second lead, so close in the top ten. 1 Rosberg 2 Vettel 3 Button 4 Hamilton 5 Webber
Lap 48: Hamilton and Webber both past Raikkonen, whose tyres are effectively gone.
Lap 48: Coming to the boil now as Hamilton passes Webber and Vettel makes it past the struggling Raikkonen.
Lap 47: Hamilton is currently behind Webber but knows his tyres a five laps newer than the Aussie's can he make a pass in these final laps. The other Red Bull, Vettel, keeps ploughing on in third. Will he have to stop again?
Lap 46: Ten laps to go. 1 Rosberg 2 Raikkonen 3 Vettel 4 Button 5 Webber 6 Hamilton 7 Senna 8 Grosjean 9 Maldonado 10 Alonso
Lap 45: Hard to keep track of what's going on behind Rosberg. The top ten is so congested as Perez, Maldonado and Grosjean go three abreast into the penultimate corner. Brilliant stuff.
Lap 44: Rosberg now 23 seconds ahead of Button, Raikkonen and Vettel lie between the pair. Raikkonen's likely to make another stop but will Vettel? Could he stay on these tyres and play a part in the end of this race?
Lap 43: Alonso takes a trip on to the grass after failing to pass Maldonado and is then past by Perez because of the mistake.
Lap 42: Rosberg is told something I'm sure he already knows over the radio: "Look after your tyres." If he does that the race is surely his.
Lap 41: Button is 20 seconds behind Rosberg. Both men are now on tyres that should see them to the end of the race. It's a mighty gap for Button to make up with 15 laps left.
Lap 40: Button pits from the lead and it's a poor stop from the McLaren boys. A sticky left rear causes the Brit to come out in sixth and he's now in a big traffic jam. Have McLaren gifted Rosberg the race?
Lap 39: Hamilton and Alonso make their third stops from third and fourth, the pair feed out in tenth and 11th respectively.
Lap 38: Button enquires what Rosberg's times have been like. He's told the German is slower than him but times indicate the German, on fresher tyres is in fact catching.
Lap 37: Whoa! Mark Webber is shown to do a wheelie of sorts coming into the back straight after running wide on the astroturf. Amazing pictures.
Lap 36: Perez, after locking his left front multiple times, finally pits to let Hamilton go. Alonso is now right behind the Englishman. 1 Button 2 Rosberg 3 Hamilton 4 Alonso
Lap 33: Rosberg pits from the lead and comes out behind Button. The German does make it out ahead of the Perez-Hamilton battle though.
Lap 33: Surely Rosberg has to pit soon? Hamilton's being held up by Perez and now has Webber all over his rear tyres.
Lap 32: Rosberg's extended second stint suggests that Mercedes are going to try a two-stop strategy. Very risky from Ross Brawn. Vettel pits for his second stop and resumes in 13th.
Lap 30: Button, with newer tyres and DRS, drifts past Vettel who really has failed to bring anything to the table today. His teammate Webber has however shown some mettle and is still chasing Hamilton.
Lap 30: Rosberg's now losing time and could be past by Button when the German makes his second stop, which he should do soon.
Lap 29: Button passes Perez as Raikkonen pits from second and comes out in 13th - shows you how close the top ten are at the moment.
Lap 28: Hamilton and Webber both make it past Di Resta as Button is the fastest man on track at the moment. Rosberg showing no sign of jitters at the front.
Lap 27: Webber also passes Massa and will now set his sights on Hamilton.
Lap 26: Remember Hamilton and Massa's regular skirmishes last year? They're at it again but, after a couple of failed attempts, Hamilton passes the Brazilian up the inside. Massa now under real pressure from the flying Red Bull of Webber.
Lap 25: Button's come out behind Maldonado in 10th and the Venezuelan does well to hold the Brit off in the early parts of the but Button easily passes on the back straight to move to ninth. Many runners ahead of him yet to make their second stop remember.
Lap 25: Button joins Hamilton on the harder compound and the 2009 world champion feeds out ahead of Hamilton, who is struggling to get past Massa in 12th.
Lap 23: Schumacher's been interviewed following his retirement and the German says he "feels good" for the next race in Bahrain.
Lap 23: McLaren are out in the pit lane for Hamilton. Teams really struggling to make the tyres work for a long period, specifically the front left seems to take a battering round this Shanghai circuit.
Lap 22: We're not even halfway through this 56-lap race and Webber has made his second stop and is on the medium compound tyres.
Lap 21: Rosberg's lead to Button is four-and-a-half seconds with Hamilton completing the top three a further two-and-a-half back.
Lap 19: Vettel sweeps past Perez into ninth place after the Mexican ran wide.
Lap 19: Massa at last pits and feeds out in 14th place.
Lap 17: Rosberg, on much fresher tyres than Massa, passes the Brazilian down the back straight to regain the lead.
Lap 16: Perez pits from the lead and luckily so as he locked his tyres on the final hairpin. Massa, yet to pit, now leads from Rosberg.
Lap 15: Replays show that Schumacher had a technical problem during the pit stop that forced him to retire. Unfortunate for the race as the German could have played a major part.
Lap 13: Schumacher's out! The seven-time world champion is parked up in the grass and is the first retirement of the race. Rosberg pits from first and holds his lead from the two McLarens who are defintely on a charge. Perez takes up first place and is yet to pit.
Lap 13: Schumacher's in from second and he comes out behind Hamilton. McLaren will be absolutely delighted with this pit-stop phase so far.
Lap 11: Raikkonen and Hamilton came out right next to Webber and Hamilton again came out on top by passing the Aussie while Raikkonen fell behind.
Lap 11: Super stuff in the pit lane as Raikkonen and Hamilton enter together. Hamilton comes out a nose in front as the pair race side by side down the pit lane.
Lap 10: Many would have expected Button to go on to challenge Schumacher's Mercedes but he's under more pressure from Raikkonen.
Lap 10: Vettel joins Webber by making a pit stop. Both men have switched to from the soft to medium compound tyres.
Lap 8: Nothing really happening on the long back straight, even with the DRS as Webber pits early for Red Bull.
Lap 7: Rosberg, who's showing no nerves in his first pole race, has pulled out a three-second gap at the front while the chasing Schumacher is around a second ahead of Button.
Lap 6: Vettel reports to his team that he's struggling for pace and can't get past Di Resta in 13th.
Lap 4: I'll give you a quick round-up as the race begins to simmer nicely. 1 Rosberg 2 Schumacher 3 Button 4 Raikkonen 5 Hamilton 6 Perez 7 Kobayashi 8 Alonso 9 Webber 10 Massa
Lap 3: As always, the DRS is enabled on lap 3. This won't affect Rosberg though, who has pulled out a one-and-a-half second lead.
Lap 2: Vettel spun his wheels off the start and is now 13th, two places behind where he started. Webber and Alonso having a real ding-dong battle in 9th and 10th too.
Lap 1: Cracking start from Rosberg who holds his lead, not so from Schumacher who is challenged by Button but stays second. Hamilton also moves up to fifth to make it a great start for McLaren.
Formation Lap: We're just about ready to go as the cars complete a single circuit before lining up in front of the five red lights. It should be a great race with Hamilton, Button, Webber, Vettel, Webber and Alonso all out of the top four with plenty of ground to make up. Here we go...
Live Commentary: Chinese Grand Prix - Rosberg wins from Button, Hamilton
© PA Photos
By Pascal Lemesre, Championship Correspondent
Filed: Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 07:50 UK
Filed: Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 07:50 UK
Last Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012 at 00:40 UK
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