(CNN) -- Nico Rosberg tasted grand prix success at his 111th attempt with a faultless drive to win the Chinese Grand Prix Sunday.
The 26-year-old German led from pole in his Mercedes to relegate the McLaren pair of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to the minor podium positions in Shanghai.
Hamilton's third successive third place finish has taken him to the top of the world championship standings, two points clear of teammate Button.
Previous leader Fernando Alonso could only take ninth place in his Ferrari and slips to third in the title race.
Reigning double world champion Sebastian Vettel, who started from 11th place on the grid in his Red Bull, battled wearing tires in the closing stages of the 56-lap race and dropped from second place to fifth.
He was overtaken by Button, Hamilton and then teammate Mark Webber, but up ahead Rosberg was untroubled.
He crossed the line 20.6 seconds clear to become the first winner for the famous German marque of Mercedes since the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio in 1955 in Italy.
"This is an unbelievable feeling. I'm very happy, very excited," he told the post-race press conference.
"It's been a long time coming for me, and for the team also, for the past two years and a bit.
"It's finally there. It's amazing, and it's nice to see now how quickly we are progressing."
Stopping only twice to change tires, Rosberg was always in control, the last challenge to his supremacy disappearing when Button's third stop in his McLaren cost him time.
"I think I lost nine to 10 seconds, which is a pity because when I exited the pits I had four cars ahead of me I wouldn't have been racing. Otherwise I would have had a nice, clear track," Button said.
Hamilton, who qualified second fastest, but was relegated five grid positions for a pre-race gearbox change, was pleased with another solid performance to take over at the top of the standings.
"I said I wanted to move forward. The team did a great job during the pit stops and with strategy, there was a lot of overtaking, so a fantastic day."
Rosberg's teammate, seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, started from second on the grid, but his race was cut short by a mistake at his first pit stop which saw his right front tire nut not properly fitted.
His pit crew were seen slapping the ground in frustration as he drove off before quickly retiring on lap 14.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean finished sixth ahead of the Williams pair of Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado.
Alonso and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi rounded out the points scoring for the top 10.