Mercedes Grand Prix hierarchy were understandably delighted to see Nico Rosberg convert his maiden F1 pole position into a first win for both team and driver at the Chinese Grand Prix.
While many predicted that the W03's supposed tyre-eating tendencies, combined with the limits placed on DRS usage, would hamper the German's chances of success, Rosberg completed the race on just two stops - where his main rivals opted for three - and did not need the car's trick rear/front wing stalling device to stay in front, as he led from start to finish in the 56-lap event.
Having started on the softer 'option' tyre he had used to beat the field to pole by fully half a second, Rosberg then reverted to back-to-back sets of the medium compound 'prime' for the rest of the race, but did not stop until after those expected to provide his main opposition. Mercedes' decision to make its rubber last as long as possible looked set to produce an interesting comparison of strategies as McLaren's Jenson Button chased him down, but the Briton was delayed at his third and final stop, allowing Rosberg to cruise to a 20-second victory.
The success came in his 111th grand prix, and 30 years after father Keke took his maiden win, in the Swiss Grand Prix at Dijon-Prenois, but Mercedes had had to wait longer, some 57 years, to celebrate a grand prix victory. In a nice piece of symmetry, it was also 111 years since the Three-Pointed Star's first
win, taken at the 1901 Nice Speed Weeks.
"This is a truly special and historic day," team principal Ross Brawn admitted, "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 from pole position. I am excited to see how he develops now he has that win under his belt.
"Heartfelt congratulations to all our team here at the track, in Brackley and in Brixworth, [as] they have put tremendous effort into this project, and we are now starting to see the rewards for their dedication and expertise.
"Finally, I must thank all our colleagues at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart and around the world - their support has been unstinting, and we are proud to deliver the first victory for a works Silver Arrow car in 57 years. I was just one-year old when Juan Manuel Fangio won in Monza in 1955, but this victory is something I will remember, and savour, for a very long time indeed!"
With the same three drivers appearing on the Shanghai podium two seasons ago, Mercedes power was also the race's engine of choice for the second time in three years, and the result could have been even better for the marque as Michael Schumacher was forced to retire with a loose wheel after a botched pit-stop early in the race.
"It was a shame for Michael, [as] he missed out on a possible podium result, [so] it was particularly sweet to see Jenson and Lewis on the podium - Mercedes power to the power of three!" Norbert Haug commented, "And what a sensational victory from Nico and our team! It was unbelievable how he drove and controlled the race from lap one to 56. A big thank you to everybody in Brackley, Brixworth, Stuttgart, Fellbach, Untertürkheim and Möhringen for all their relentless work and their belief in our capabilities and that we can make it. Nico's performance was superb today, the team executed a great two-stop strategy, and Nico and his car managed the tyres very well."
Despite the disappointment of seeing Schumacher fail to add to his solitary point from Malaysia in what has been a frustrating start for the 43-year old veteran, Brawn was left in no doubt that Rosberg's success will come as a boost for both drivers.
"Commiserations to Michael, who was driving a controlled race in second position, but was forced to retire after his pit-stop," he concluded, "He is the first man to say that 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...."