Lewis Hamilton bounced back from his defeat to Sebastian Vettel in the Formula 1 season-opener in Australia two weeks ago by controlling Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix en route to his fifth win in Shanghai.
Hamilton managed to perfect both his strategy and his pace to take Mercedes’ first win of the year, with Vettel recovering from an early pit stop to finish second, leaving the pair tied on points heading to Bahrain next weekend.
However, it was Max Verstappen who stole the show in Shanghai, charging from P16 on the grid to finish third after a remarkable early charge reminiscent of his fight through the field in Brazil last year.
Up front, British champ, Lewis Hamilton was able to retain his lead on the first lap as Sebastian Vettel fought hard to keep Valtteri Bottas back. Vettel was placed under investigation by the stewards for appearing to start the race out of position, sitting towards one side of his grid slot, but was soon cleared of gaining an advantage.
The race was quickly placed under the Virtual Safety Car when Lance Stroll was clouted by Sergio Perez, putting the Williams driver out of the race. A number of drivers took advantage of this to make the switch to slicks, including Vettel, but Hamilton opted to stay out on intermediates along with the lead five drivers, one of whom was Max Verstappen, who had made a sensational charge in the opening stages from 16th on the grid.
The VSC ended, only to be quickly replaced by a full safety car following a big shunt for Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi on the main straight.
This managed to allowe the leading drivers who had stayed on intermediates to take a free stop, with Hamilton retaining his lead and moving on to the soft tyre. Daniel Ricciardo rose up to second for Red Bull ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. Vettel – whose early stop had proved costly – now found himself in sixth, while Bottas had fallen to P12 after spinning behind the safety car.
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes – Mercedes 56 laps
2. Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari – Ferrari +6.250s
3. Max Verstappen NED Red Bull – TAG +45.552s
4. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull – TAG +46.987s
5. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari – Ferrari +48.076s
6. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes – Mercedes +48.808s
7. Carlos Sainz ESP Toro Rosso-Renault +1m 11.115
8. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas-Ferrari +1 lap
9. Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes +1 lap
10. Esteban Ocon FRA Force India-Mercedes +1 lap
11. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari +1 lap
12. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault – Renault +1 lap
13. Jolyon Palmer GBR Renault – Renault +1 lap
14. Felipe Massa BRA Williams – Mercedes +1 lap
15. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber – Ferrari +1 laps
Did not finish
16. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda 34 laps completed
17. Daniil Kvyat RUS Toro Rosso-Renault 18 laps completed
18. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren-Honda 16 laps completed
19. Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Sauber – Ferrari 2 laps completed
20. Lance Stroll CAN Williams – Mercedes 0 laps completed