Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in Shanghai

Lewis Hamilton cruised to his second win of the season

Lewis Hamilton cruised to his second win of the season

Lewis Hamilton extended his world championship lead by spearheading a Mercedes one-two in the Chinese Grand Prix.

The pole-sitter had angled his car aggressively towards the inside on the grid, subsequently sweeping across the front of team-mate Nico Rosberg on the run to the first corner.

Hamilton was able to control the race for its entire 56 lap duration, storming away from the German when asked by the team to increase his pace late in the middle stint.

The Brit’s eventual winning margin was just 0.7s after the final two laps were spent under Safety Car while marshals retrieved Max Verstappen’s stricken Torro Rosso from the front straight.

Ferrari at least kept the Mercedes duo honest, with Sebastian Vettel an ever present factor in Rosberg’s mirrors.

The four-time world champion was the first of the leaders to take service in both pitstop cycles, but proved too far adrift to undercut Rosberg on each occasion.

Vettel found himself unable to benefit from tyre strategy as the Mercedes entries were also able to run two stints on the softs before taking mediums for the run home.

Kimi Raikkonen, who started down in sixth on the grid, finished fourth after scything past Williams duo Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas in the opening corners.

Romain Grosjean scored Lotus’ first points of the season after a quiet race to seventh, while Felipe Nasr, Daniel Ricciardo and Marcus Ericsson completed the top 10.

Verstappen impressed with a series of stunning overtakes during the afternoon and had been set for an eighth place finish before his late engine failure.

Ricciardo, whose Red Bull received a new Renault engine pre-race, worked hard for his points after a poor start saw the Australian drop as far back as 17th on the opening lap.

Making matters worse, Ricciardo then spent the early laps bottled up behind team-mate Daniil Kvyat, who appeared in no hurry to heed to team orders.

The Russian’s race soon ended as he suffered a smokey engine failure on lap 16.

Poor reliability also cost Nico Hulkenberg, who retired early with gearbox complaints, and Carlos Sainz, who lost time when his Toro Rosso slowed with gear selection problems of its own.

Those to get two cars to the flag included McLaren, led by Fernando Alonso in 12th, and Manor, which saw Will Stevens take 15th.

Jenson Button trailed team-mate Alonso to the flag in 13th despite a late tangle with Pastor Maldonado that took the Lotus out of the race.

Maldonado had endured a typically fraught race which included an off at the pit entry and a solo spin.

Assistance from marshals and the extra room brought about by a new-for-2015 tarmac run-off area allowed the one-time grand prix winner to rejoin.

The results see Hamilton extend his world championship lead over Vettel to 13 points, with Rosberg now just four adrift of the Ferrari in third.

Result: Chinese Grand Prix

1 LEWIS HAMILTON GBR MERCEDES 1:39:42.008 25
2 NICO ROSBERG GER MERCEDES +0.714s 18
3 SEBASTIAN VETTEL GER FERRARI +2.988s 15
4 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN FIN FERRARI +3.835s 12
5 FELIPE MASSA BRA WILLIAMS +8.544s 10
6 VALTTERI BOTTAS FIN WILLIAMS +9.885s 8
7 ROMAIN GROSJEAN FRA LOTUS +19.008s 6
8 FELIPE NASR BRA SAUBER +22.625s 4
9 DANIEL RICCIARDO AUS RED BULL +32.117s 2
10 MARCUS ERICSSON SWE SAUBER +1 lap 1
11 SERGIO PEREZ MEX FORCE INDIA +1 lap 0
12 FERNANDO ALONSO ESP MCLAREN +1 lap 0
13 JENSON BUTTON GBR MCLAREN +1 lap 0
14 CARLOS SAINZ ESP TORO ROSSO +1 lap 0
15 WILL STEVENS GBR MARUSSIA +2 laps 0
16 ROBERTO MERHI ESP MARUSSIA +2 laps 0
17 MAX VERSTAPPEN NED TORO ROSSO DNF 0
RT PASTOR MALDONADO VEN LOTUS DNF 0
RT DANIIL KVYAT RUS RED BULL DNF 0
RT NICO HULKENBERG GER FORCE INDIA DNF 0

Fastest lap – Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m 42.208s (lap 31)

Championship standings after 3 of 19 races

Pos

Driver

Points

1

Lewis Hamilton

68

2

Sebastian Vettel

55

3

Nico Rosberg

51

4

Felipe Massa

30

5

Kimi Raikkonen

24

6

Valtteri Bottas

18

7

Felipe Nasr

14

8

Daniel Ricciardo

11

9

Romain Grosjean

6

10

Nico Hulkenberg

6

11

Max Verstappen

6

12

Carlos Sainz

6

13

Marcus Ericsson

5

14

Daniil Kvyat

2

15

Sergio Perez

1

16

Jenson Button

0

17

Fernando Alonso

0

18

Roberto Merhi

0

19

Will Stevens

0

 

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