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Germany's Nico Rosberg storms to victory in Chinese Grand Prix

The German has completed a hat trick of wins in three races for Mercedes, beating compatriot Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari. Rosberg stretched his drivers' championship lead to 36 points.

Starting from pole position, the German's Mercedes was overtaken at the start of Saturday's race by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo as chaos ensued behind them. But eventually Rosberg romped home almost 38 seconds ahead of Vettel. In doing so, he won his sixth race in a row and the third in the 2016 Formula One season.

Rosberg is now on target to take the drivers' title from Briton Lewis Hamilton - every previous driver who has achieved three straight wins at the start of the season has gone on to win.

"It was a great weekend here for me in China. It's a special place for me - first pole, first win here (in 2012)," Rosberg said. "I was just pushing to try to get the best gap possible. I'm glad that it worked out so well."

Formula 1 Qualifying in China Nico Rosberg

Rosberg during qualifying for the Chinese F1 on Saturday

Collisions early on

Ferrari's terrible run of luck continued after Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen collided at the first turn, causing damage to both cars. The knock was one of a series of incidents which left debris across the track, requiring an early intervention from the safety car.

Vettel carved his way back through the field from 15th to finish second but blamed Danill Kvyat for driving "like a madman" in a furious rant over the team radio.

"Disappointed that I made contact in lap one. Lucky that the car was still intact," Vettel said. "We had a different strategy from most people with the super-soft tire, which helped me to clear the traffic and make progress. It was good fun - a lot of cars. I didn't count but it felt like a lot."

The Vettel/Raikkonen bump allowed Kvyat's Red Bull to slip past into third, where the Russian finished.

Chinese Formula 1 in Shanghai

Ricciardo for Red Bull led Nico Rosberg of Germany at the start of Sunday's race

Ricciardo suffered a puncture while leading on lap three and finished fourth. Raikkonen was fifth after having been knocked to the back of the field by the first-corner accident.

Hamilton's tough start

Reigning drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton made his way up through the field after starting on the back row and battled with Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Williams driver Felipe Massa late in the race. Massa held off Hamilton to take sixth place, while the reigning champion had to settle for seventh for Mercedes.

Rosberg now leads Hamilton by 36 points with 18 rounds of a record 21-race season to run.

mm/jlw (AP, AFP, Reuters)