Hamilton scores hat-trick in China
Lewis Hamilton recorded his third consecutive victory of the Formula 1 season with a faultless drive to take out the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver proved to be in a league of his own as he led the race from lights-to-flag with team-mate Nico Rosberg completing a 1-2 result for the Brackley squad.
Ferrari recorded their first podium of the season with Fernando Alonso finishing ahead of both Red Bulls in third.
Daniel Ricciardo once again got the better of his world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel to finish fourth.
Starting from pole, Hamilton made no mistakes at the start as he led the field into turn one, with Vettel slotting into second from third on the grid.
There was plenty of action behind as a fast starting Williams of Felipe Massa made contact with Alonso after being squeezed between the Ferrari and Ricciardo’s Red Bull.
Hamilton set a searing pace at the front as he built a 2.4 second lead from Vettel and Alonso after just two laps. Ricciardo held fourth ahead of Massa but he soon lost the position to a recovering Rosberg.
By the fist round of pit stops Hamilton held a healthy lead with the Brit’s pace approximately a second a lap faster then his rivals. He was the last of the front runners to pit and he rejoined the race comfortably in the lead.
An early stop for Alonso helped him leapfrog Vettel into second while Ricciardo, who was one of the last to stop, dropped behind Rosberg in fifth.
Massa proved to be the big loser after an issue with his hub delayed his stop and subsequently dropped him to last.
With fresh rubber, Hamilton continued to push hard at the front with Alonso comfortably second. Behind, Rosberg and Ricciardo passed Vettel after two thrilling dices with the German.
There was no change at the front after the second round of stops with Hamilton leading easily. Alonso held on to second just ahead of Rosberg with Ricciardo fourth and Vettel fifth.
Rosberg soon homed in on the back of the Ferrari and the German slipped through with 13 laps remaining.
All eyes turned to the battle for third as Alonso dropped into the clutches of the two stopping Ricciardo. The Aussie pushed hard in the dying laps but he was unable to catch the Spaniard in time and was forced to settle for fourth.
In the end, there was no stopping Hamilton as he took the chequered flag from Rosberg with Alonso recording his first podium of the year in third.
Ricciardo came home in fourth ahead Vettel with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg in sixth.
Valtteri Bottas scored points for Williams in seventh ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Sergio Perez ensured both Force Indias came home in the points in ninth ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, who completed the top 10.
McLaren struggled for pace throughout the race as Jenson Button finished 11th, while team-mate Kevin Magnussen crossed the finish line in 13th position.
Chinese Grand Prix Results
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||+27.136s|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||+47.778s|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||+54.295s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||+1m22.647s|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso-Renault||+1 lap|
|11||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||+1 lap|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Renault||+1 lap|
|13||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||+1 lap|
|14||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||+1 lap|
|15||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||+1 lap|
|16||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 lap|
|17||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Ferrari||+1 lap|
|18||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham-Renault||+1 lap|
|19||Max Chilton||Marussia-Ferrari||+2 laps|
|20||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham-Renault||+2 laps|
|RET||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||28 laps|
|RET||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||5 laps|