Leader Rosberg wary of Hamilton and Vettel threat for Chinese Grand Prix
Lee Gormley | April 13, 2016
Chinese Grand Prix
- Sunday, April 17th
- Race starts: 07:00 BST
- Shanghai International Circuit
- Live on Sky Sports F1
Championship leader Rosberg faces China test
Formula 1 Driver’s Championship leader Nico Rosberg enters the latest Chinese Grand Prix on the back of impressive victories in both Australia and Bahrain, having now won five successive circuits including three at the end of last season, and the German is confident of further success.
The Mercedes steerer is now focused on extending his dominant run on the Shanghai track, where he last prevailed back in 2012, but the 30-year-old is wary of threats posed by both reigning world champion and teammate Lewis Hamilton, as well as Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.
Rosberg will take to the Chinese track at 11/8 with Coral to triumph, though record race winner (4) Hamilton loves this tricky circuit and is 11/10 favourite for a third consecutive Shanghai triumph.
“I’m going to China now knowing I can fight for the win, which is a great feeling to have. It’s especially good in this instance too, as Shanghai is a track with good memories for me,” stated Rosberg.
“We haven’t seen the real Ferrari yet…”
“I took my first pole and win there back in 2012, so I head into this weekend on a massive high. I’m looking forward to the next battle. We haven’t seen the real Ferrari yet, so it could be a very exciting season ahead.”
Ferrari’s leading man Vettel last secured first spot in China during the 2009 campaign, before going on to claim four World Championship titles, and the German is 11/2 to succeed again this time of asking, after a stuttering start to this intriguing 2016 season.
Championship front runner Rosberg may hold an encouraging 17-point lead at this early stage, but last year’s runner-up is taking a measured approach with 19 races still left in this Formula 1 marathon.
“It’s great to start the season in such a positive way,” he continued.
“But I’m just taking things step by step, race by race and targeting a lot more wins to come. It’s important to enjoy times like these. I feel very privileged to drive the best car on the grid for the third year in a row and I intend to make the most of it.”
Alonso could be set for Shanghai showing
Former world champion Fernando Alonso could be set for a return to the latest GP in China, having missed the previous outing in Bahrain due to a broken rib sustained during that terrifying crash in Australia.
The Spaniard stated: “Until I get the all-clear from the doctors to race, we cannot assume anything.”
Alonso is the only other current multiple race winner of Shanghai circuit, along with Britain’s Hamilton, with his two previous successes coming in 2005 and 2013, and the McLaren-Honda driver is 7/1 for a top six finish if given a medical clearance.
If he cannot compete in Shanghai, Alonso will again be replaced by McLaren’s reserve steerer Stoffel Vandoorne, who impressed in Bahrain by out-qualifying team-mate Jenson Button on his Grand Prix debut and scoring a point for 10th place.
Ricciardo ready to claim podium place
Meanwhile, with two comfortable fourth-place finishes in his home nation of Australia and Bahrain, Daniel Ricciardo is knocking on the door of a podium finish and the Red Bull driver is 6/1 to finally achieve that feat in Shanghai.
Finish competitor Kimi Raikkonen is a former victor in China, having raced to first place back in 2007, and ‘the Ice Man’ is 13/2 to record the fastest lap for Ferrari, while front runners Hamilton and Rosberg are 13/8 and 5/2 respectively for that accolade.
Kevin Magnussen has recently recovered from unfortunate setbacks in Australia and Bahrain to finish on the fringes of the top 10, and his gritty displays for a returning Renault could see him secure their first points of the team’s new era.
The determined Dane is 9/1 to earn a points finish in China, with former world champion Button available at 15/8 to claim a top 10 spot too, while it is evens for the safety car to be introduced anytime in what is sure to be another enthralling circuit.