SHANGHAI – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton drove brilliantly to lead from start to finish as he dominated Sunday’s Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai Int’l Circuit.
It was Hamilton’s third-straight victory and his 25th career F-1 triumph, matching him with Formula One legends Jim Clark and Niki Lauda.
As the Englishman sped away at the start, a slow getaway for teammate Nico Rosberg saw the championship leader drop as low as seventh before beginning a recovery that would eventually see him finish second, 18 seconds adrift. His difficulties were compounded by lack of telemetry on his F1 W05.
Front-row starter Daniel Ricciardo was also slow away as both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa burst through. But as the Ferrari and the Williams dramatically banged wheels, Sebastian Vettel was able to snatch second ahead of the aggressive Spaniard.
Red Bull did not have the pace to keep ahead of Alonso’s Ferrari and Alonso was able to take Ferrari’s first podium finish of the season, finishing 23.6 seconds behind Hamilton.
For the second race in a row Vettel was obliged to move over and let Ricciardo go, doing it with reluctance on the 25th lap once he learned they were on the same medium-compound Pirelli tire and the same two-stop strategy. A late charge, allied to some locking up by Alonso, enabled the Australian to close the gap to third, but at the flag he was still 3.5 seconds behind.
Vettel, however, was another 20.6 seconds down the road, albeit well ahead of a big scrap between Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas, whose Williams had also been in the wars in the first corner after a collision with Rosberg. By the flag the Finn was only 1.4 seconds behind the German.
The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen had a lonely and unspectacular run to eighth, well ahead of the equally lonely Sergio Perez in the second Force India, while 10th place fell – you probably guessed it – to the super-consistent Daniil Kvyat in his Toro Rosso.