Nico Rosberg’s F1 season has got off to a flying start, with the Mercedes driver picking up the winner’s trophy in Australia and scoring another victory in Bahrain. Having finished the 2015 season on a winning streak, he has racked up five back-to-back race wins, giving him plenty more awards for his display cabinet.
With Formula One now heading to China for the third race of this year’s championship, can Rosberg consolidate his lead with yet another win, or will any of his competitors be able to break his run of form?
The Shanghai International Circuit – Is it Hamilton’s Domain?
The current World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, will fancy his chances of being first across the line at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday 17 April 2016.
The British driver got off to a poor start in Australia and had to fight his way back from sixth place. Unable to do enough to catch his team mate, he had to settle for second place in the end. Bahrain wasn’t Hamilton’s race either. A slow start and a first-corner collision with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas put pay to his chances of taking the trophy and consigned him to the final podium place.
However, whilst the circuits at Australia and Bahrain are better suited to Rosberg’s driving style than to Hamilton’s, Lewis has had substantial success in China in the past. He has won the Chinese Grand Prix on four occasions (2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015), whilst Rosberg has only hoisted the trophy aloft once, in 2012.
Can Ferrari Catch the Silver Arrows in China?
It’s not just Hamilton who will be focused on reducing Rosberg’s championship lead in China either. Sebastian Vettel will be keen to make up for a disastrous Bahrain outing, in which the engine of his Ferrari failed on the formation lap, forcing him to retire before the race had even begun. He finished third in Australia, however, so the four-time World Champion certainly has the potential to cause an upset for Mercedes and he has won at this circuit before.
His Finnish teammate, Kimi Räikkönen, could also pose a problem for the Silver Arrows. He made a superb start to the Australian Grand Prix – although a dramatic-looking fire caused him to retire on Lap 21 – and took second place in Bahrain, splitting the Mercedes drivers. The Iceman is also a former Chinese Grand Prix Champion, having added the award to his impressive collection of motorsports trophies in 2007.
Who Else Could Grab a Podium Place in China?
While Mercedes and Ferrari lead the pack at the moment, anything can happen in Formula One, and many drivers could deliver good results in Shanghai. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was placed fourth in both Australia and Bahrain, so could easily sneak into the top three, while Felipe Massa, Valterri Bottas and Max Verstappen have also finished within the top ten twice in 2016.
So far, this year’s surprise package has been the new American team, Haas, with Romain Grosjean gaining sixth place for them in Australia and fifth place in Bahrain. Can he push even harder in Shanghai and reach the podium in Shanghai? Only time will tell, but if the 2016 Formula One season continues as it has started, the Chinese Grand Prix is set to be a thriller.
Which drivers do you think will be on the podium at the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix? Who has impressed you the most so far this season? We’d love to know your opinion.