We don’t like to give Top Dog to the driver who wins the race, so it was that your correspondent took his time to see if there was any way Nico Rosberg couldn’t be crowned Top Dog for the Chinese Grand Prix (this included putting wash on, going to the supermarket, having a chat to the neighbours while hanging up underwear and falling asleep on the sofa). At the end of that extensive and rigorous process of self-examination it turns out it that it has to be Nico.
Brilliant in qualifying and error-free in the race in taking his maiden Grand Prix victory, he not only won well but very much deserved to win. From a fan’s perspective, it would have been nice to see him and Button fighting it out for the win at the end, but Button’s left-rear problem at his last pit-stop put paid to that particular dream.
The lack of any real challenger aside, Rosberg’s performance in such a close Grand Prix (at one point it was like watching F1 from the mid-nineties with six or eight cars in a train) should prove that he has what it takes to win more races and, if he gets the right machinery, challenge for world titles.
A veteran of 110 races going into the weekend, questions had been asked of Rosberg’s mental strength when put in a position to win races, but this time he fulfilled three of the essential parts of any victory: staying calm, maintaining his pace and looking after his tyres. Tick, tick and tick again.
More broadly, let’s hope that this kick-starts Mercedes as serious title challengers – to have four (or even possibly five if Lotus have a good weekend) teams scrapping for race victories would go a long way to making Formula 1 more unpredictable, more exciting and a lot more watchable on a consistent basis.