Five themes to watch for in China

Five themes to watch for in China

The grid for the Chinese Grand Prix suggests another unpredictable race is in store. Can Rosberg and Mercedes convert pole? Will Kamui Kobayashi star for Sauber? Can McLaren race through? Edd Straw explores the themes to watch out for on Sunday

Mercedes race pace

Despite Michael Schumacher's protestations to the contrary, it wasn't a surprise to see Mercedes take pole position. Friday practice proved beyond doubt that the F1 W03, with its DRS-activated front wing stalling trick (now officially declared legal by the FIA following a protest by Lotus), has an advantage in qualifying.

But race pace is a different matter. With the likes of Jenson Button openly saying that they expect Mercedes to be less competitive in the race and fall back, the real question is just where will the car's natural level be? As Schumacher pointed out, the team is still not certain about how the car will treat its tyres relative to the rest in race conditions and, right now, pretty much any result seems possible, even if winning seems an unusually long shot for a team starting first and second.

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