Rosberg wins Chinese Grand Prix

By Justin Bergman

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 16 2012 12:41 a.m. MDT

Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany celebrates after winning the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, Sunday, April 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)

Associated Press

SHANGHAI — Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday for his first career Formula One victory, gambling on a two-stop strategy and managing to hold off the rest of the field on worn tires.

Rosberg, who also captured his first pole on Saturday, finished 20.6 seconds ahead of McLaren driver Jenson Button.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," said the 26-year-old German, who was competing in his 111th F1 race. "It's been a long time coming for me, and for the team as well over the past two years and a bit. Now it's finally here."

It was Mercedes' first Formula One victory since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix. Mercedes pulled out of F1 shortly after that victory and didn't return as a contructor until it bought out Brawn GP at the end of 2009.

"It's just nice to see how quickly we are now progressing," Rosberg said. "I didn't expect to be that fast today."

Lewis Hamilton of McLaren was third, followed by the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in fourth and fifth.

Vettel started 11th on the grid and at one stage moved up to second, but the two-time defending world champion couldn't hold off Button, Hamilton and Webber in the closing stages.

With his third third-place finish of the season, Hamilton took the lead in the driver standings with 45 points, two ahead of Button. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari is third with 37 points, followed by Webber (36) and Vettel (28). Rosberg rose to sixth with 25.

McLaren leads the constructor standings with 88 points, followed by Red Bull with 64 and Ferrari on 37.

For Mercedes, the victory is evidence it has remedied the quick tire degradation problem that led to disappointing results in the first two races of the year. Rosberg and Schumacher have been fast in qualifying this season but failed to keep up with other teams when it mattered in the races.

Mercedes is also the third different team to win a race this year, following Button's victory at the Australian GP for McLaren and Fernando Alonso's win at the Malaysian GP for Ferrari. The 2011 constructor's champion, Red Bull, is still looking for its first win.

INDY CAR: At Long Beach, Calif., Will Power has kept Penske Racing perfect this season by picking his way through the field to win at Long Beach.

Power won for the second consecutive IndyCar race even though a penalty levied against Chevrolet forced him to start 12th in the field. Chevy's decision to change the engine for all 11 of its teams drew penalties of 10 starting spots for each driver.

So Power had to weave his way through traffic all day, then hold off Simon Pagenaud to preserve the win.

The Australian won at Barber two weeks ago by driving from ninth to first. Penske has won all three races this season, as Helio Castroneves won the opener.

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