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Nico Rosberg says Lewis Hamilton remains the “benchmark” in F1 despite moving 36 points clear in the race for the Drivers’ Championship.
Rosberg collected his sixth race win in a row in Shanghai on Sunday as he led from start to finish and implemented a perfect two-stop strategy to win by 38 seconds, while Hamilton struggled to seventh.
Although being on the fourth-longest winning sequence in F1 history, the German driver insists he is taking nothing for granted in the race for the title.
"Six wins, that doesn't count for me because three wins were last year and I just think about this year," he told Sky Sports.
"And I'm happy about those, they've gone well, but it's early days.
"Three races are just a handful and we've got 18 to go - it's the longest season in F1 history. My team-mate is dear Lewis and he's going to push like hell, like always, and it's tough to beat him in previous years and it's going to be tough to beat him this year.
"I look forward to the battle though, that's what I'm here for. He's the benchmark."
It was all pretty easy for Rosberg as he led from start to finish in Shanghai and he admitted that everything worked perfectly with his car.
"A special race for me, really," said the German. "The balance of the car and the way we managed to set it up this weekend was insane.
"On every tyre, whatever we were doing, it was just really a pleasure a drive and I was pushing all the way through to cover every eventuality. It was great."
The first lap caused chaos in Shanghai with Hamilton and the two Ferrari’s all requiring wing changes, but Rosberg joked that he didn’t see anything while out in front.
"I heard there was a lot of action going on - I didn't see anything!" joked the Championship leader.