SHANGHAI – Lewis Hamilton converted a perfect start into his 75th career Formula One victory on Sunday during the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai Int’l Circuit.
Hamilton got the measure of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas when the lights went out and never trailed again, leading all the way for his second straight win and sixth in China.
The Briton rumbled out to a 6.552-second margin at the checkered flag of the 56-lap race, which marked the 1,000th Grand Prix in F-1 history.
With the victory, Hamilton officially took the points lead over Bottas, as the Finn came home second to secure Mercedes’ third one-two finish to open the year.
“It wasn’t the most straightforward of weekends, but what a fantastic result for the team, because everyone’s worked so hard for this,” said Hamilton. “Coming here, we didn’t know exactly where we would stand with Ferrari, as they’d been so quick in Bahrain. Valtteri has been quick all weekend and did a great job today. To have a one-two together is really special for the 1,000th Grand Prix. The start was where I made the difference.
“Our strategy has really been on point over these first three races, so we need to keep that up,” Hamilton added. “You can still see it’s very close between us all. I really have no idea how the next races will turn out, but I’m super excited for them.”
Bottas now trails Hamilton by six points in the driver’s championship, but was still pleased with his runner-up result.
“For us as a team, it’s really been a perfect start to the season; we could not have imagined to get three one-twos in a row, so a big thank you to everyone for their hard work,” noted Bottas. “We managed to maximize on every single opportunity, which is great to see. For me personally, it was a bit disappointing as I was on pole, but then lost the race at the start. There’s a white line just outside the starting box and I had some wheel spin when I went over it and lost the position to Lewis.
“It’s all about details in this sport, so unfortunately that detail decided the rest of the race.”
Ferrari team orders early in the race stood Charles Leclerc down and handed the last podium spot to Sebastian Vettel, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came through for fourth.
Leclerc completed the top five, followed by the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly.
The midfield was led by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in seventh, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon capping the points-scoring drivers in the top 10.
Albon’s drive saw him hold off the Haas F1 entry of Romain Grosjean after a pit-lane start.
The race saw a Virtual Safety Car period on the opening lap after a jingle at turn six.
As Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz tried to get through side by side, Kvyat had a wobble on his Toro Rosso that saw him wash into the path of the Spaniard.
The pair collided, with Kvyat’s car then bashing into the sister McLaren of Lando Norris, who was launched dramatically into the air.
All three were able to continue – although Sainz did so without a front wing – but the stewards handed Kvyat a drive-through penalty at the track where his ‘Torpedo’ nickname was coined three years ago.
Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel,