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Rosberg caps wild ride with Shanghai victory

By Agence France-Presse In Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-18 10:24

Rosberg caps wild ride with Shanghai victory

Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg sprays champagne on a team official and runner-up Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari after winning the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on Sunday. Gao Erqiang / China Daily

German makes it six straight Grand Prix wins

Nico Rosberg stormed to victory in a chaotic Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, methodically completing a hat-trick of wins to extend his perfect start to the 2016 Formula One season.

The German's Mercedes was jumped at the start by Daniel Ricciardo but after avoiding the first-corner mayhem unfolding behind the front two, he quickly caught the Red Bull driver and romped home to win by a whopping 38 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton started at the back of the grid after a mechanical failure on his Mercedes sabotaged qualifying for the Briton on Saturday but he roared back to take seventh, despite pitting early to replace a damaged front wing.

"It's too early to make any premature conclusions," said Rosberg after stretching his championship lead to 36 points.

"Lewis is not many points behind - 30 points is not much, it's a race and a bit and he will never give up."

Ferrari's wretched fortune continued after Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen collided on the first turn, allowing Red Bull's Daniil Kvyatto slip past into third, which is where the Russian finished.

Vettel carved his way back through the field from 15th but blamed Kyvat for driving "like a madman" in a furious rant over the team radio.

"Kvyat's attack was suicidal," fumed the German, who was still squabbling with Kyvat as Rosberg made his victory speech.

"You came in like a torpedo!" Vettel barked at Kyvat before they stepped out to the podium, to which Kyvat said with a shrug, "That's racing."

The four-time world champion said he was fortunate to even finish the race.

"I was very lucky," said Vettel. "It was a big hit with Kimi. I feel very sorry for Kimi but I was a bit in a sandwich between Kimi and Daniil and there was nothing I could do."

Meanwhile, Rosberg rammed home his advantage with a superb drive, becoming only the fourth driver to win six consecutive races - joining Vettel (nine), Alberto Ascari (seven) and Michael Schumacher (six) - after winning the last three of 2015.

If Rosberg's wins in Australia and Bahrain were shrugged off by Hamilton, his 17th career victory underlined how far momentum has shifted since Hamilton captured his third world title in Texas last October - the last time he won a grand prix.

Hamilton last started a race from the back of the grid in Hungary two years ago when he stormed back to take third.

After an engine change, Hamilton produced a brave attempt to repeat his 2014 heroics but lightning never looked like it would strike twice.

Rosberg, though, was unstoppable once he blew past Ricciardo at the exact moment the Australian's left rear tire shredded, bringing out the safety car to throw Hamilton and Raikkonen a lifeline after their troubled starts.

Ricciardo finished a creditable fourth after recovering from his puncture, while Raikkonen fought back for fifth and Felipe Massa finished sixth in front of Hamilton.

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