2 APRIL 18 2012 motorsport-news.co.uk
IN THIS ISSUE
THE VOICE OF BRITISH MOTORSPORT ISSUE JA2817
“We just want to go to Bahrain and race”
P8 The race is on and organisers have promised calm
Redstone ace thrown out after team admits fault
INJURY SET TO END LATVALA’S HOPES OF WRC CHALLENGE
Ford’s Finn is crocked, but who will replace him?
SAINZ SHINES AT
MONZA TO PUT
Spaniard wins twice in Italy to head the title chase
Chinese Grand Prix report
Historic race and rally news
British F3 report:Monza
BTCC report:Donington Park 24 BTCC supports report 27 Racing reports 28 Granite City Rally report 30 Rally reports 31 SUBSCRIBETOMOTORSPORTNEWS 32 Karting round-up 33 Sporting Scene round-up 34 Letters/Comment/What’s On 36 Wanted:Anti-Plato rear bumper guards. Apply:Rob Collard,Gordon Shedden,Matt Neal...anyone else we’ve forgotten?
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German racer finally breaks his Grand Prix
By James Attwood Nico Rosberg thrust himself into the F1 title fight with a dominant victory in last Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix – and warned that there is more pace to unlock from his Mercedes racer.
The German driver dominated the race in Shanghai on Sunday, starting from pole position and building up a commanding lead while his main rivals were battling in traffic.
TheMercedes W03 had demonstrated impressive pace in qualifying in the first two rounds in Australia andMalaysia, but had struggled in the races due to excessive tyre wear. But work on the car’s set-up and the lower temperatures in China meant that was not an issue, and Rosberg was able to run a two-stop strategy en route to his maiden win after 111 races.
“This is a very special moment for me,” said the 26-year-old. “The whole weekend went perfectly, with my first pole position and first win in F1 – it really is fantastic. It makesme very proud that we have improved the car so quickly.
“Wewill enjoy this success, but our feet are still on the ground. Weare still not where wewant to be, we are still working hard to understand the car and the tyres in all conditions, and wewill keep pushing to improve our race pace even further.”
Silver Arrows success Rosberg’s victory was the first for Mercedes as a full manufacturer entry since Juan-Manuel Fangio triumphed in the 1955 Italian Grand Prix. The Germanmarque bought Brawn Grand Prix, which won both the drivers’ andmanufacturers’ titles in 2009, ahead of the 2010 season.
Team chief Ross Brawn said: “I was just one year old when JuanManuel Fangio won in Monza in 1955 – but this victory is something I will remember and savour for a very long time indeed.
“I am so delighted for Nico. He has deserved to take his first victory several times, and has now done so by driving a perfectly judged race. I am excited to see how he develops now he has that win under his belt.”
Rosberg said the German firm’s dramatic improvement in form in the Chinese Grand Prix was largely down to gaining a better understanding of how to manage the Pirelli tyres.
“It’s set-up really, thinking about what’s going on in the race and why we are struggling and trying to improve that situation,” he said. “Surely the [cold] conditions helped, but even so we’re just moving forward and that’s very nice to see. From the beginning of the year we’ve been very strong in qualifying, but it’s been more difficult in the race. Nowwe’re
Rosberg’s win came on his 111th Grand Prix outing still strong in qualifying –maybe even stronger – and also improving in the race, so it’s good progress forward and I’m sure that wewill continue this development.”
Brawn said that unlocking the pace of the tyres was the key to victory. He said: “With these tyres if you get it right on the day then you can do what we did in China. You can see what is very strong opposition perhaps not quite hitting the sweet spot. Wemanaged to get it to work and others didn’t, and that will be the characteristic of this year.”
It wasn’t quite a perfect weekend for Mercedes. Both of the team’s cars started on the front row of the grid, with Rosberg’s team-mate Michael Schumacher qualifying third but moving up a place due to a penalty for McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton (see right). Schumacher ran in second place for the first stint of the race, but was forced to retire when the right-front wheel nut was not fastened properly at his first pit stop. The team was fined £4100 for the incident, with race stewards praising Schumacher’s decision to park the car as soon as he realised the problem.
Brawn tipped the seven-time world champion to bounce back. He said: “He is the first man to say we win and lose as a team, and his performances this year prove that he is equally capable of climbing to the top step of the podium.”
McLaren in front McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are now leading the way in the championship after both finished on the podium, but the Brits were left to rue problems that cost them a shot at victory.