Hamilton wins 1 000th Grand Prix in Shanghai

Lewis Hamilton (Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton (Getty Images)

Shanghai - Lewis Hamilton won the 1 000th Formula One grand prix on Sunday after grabbing the lead from Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the first corner and powering to victory in blustery Shanghai.

Hamilton, who started from second on the grid, took the world championship lead after romping home to win the Chinese Grand Prix by more than 6.5 seconds from Bottas, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel third.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull was fourth and Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari was fifth.

This was world champion Hamilton's sixth victory at the Chinese Grand Prix and second in a row this season.

"To have a one-two (for Mercedes) is really special in the 1 000th grand prix but the start was where it made the difference and the rest is history," said the Briton.

Hamilton was pipped for pole position by Bottas by just 0.023 in qualifying and had said that he was "struggling with the car".

But the Finn laboured out of the blocks, allowing Hamilton to nip in and grab the lead at the first corner.

"I lost it on the start, honestly, shame about the start, I got some wheel spin on the start line," said Bottas, who also relinquished his hold on the standings after three races.

Talented 21-year-old Leclerc meanwhile pulled off the same trick at the start at the expense of his team-mate Vettel, darting into third.

There was more early drama when Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat tangled with both McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, earning the Russian a drive-through penalty.

On lap 11, four-time world champion Vettel leapfrogged back in front of Monaco's Leclerc into third following radio orders from Ferrari telling the youngster to let him pass.

"We do our job, stay focused," Leclerc - agonisingly denied victory last time out in Bahrain after his Ferrari lost power late on - was informed on team radio after he briefly protested.

Back at the front, the 34-year-old Hamilton began pulling away, establishing a more than five-second gap on Bottas with a third of the race gone.

With five-time world champion Hamilton - winner in Bahrain two weeks ago - serene up top, the real battles unfolded behind him.

Vettel, under pressure after a number of unforced errors going back to last season, went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen after both pitted for fresh tyres.

Vettel, Bottas and then Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon, who missed qualifying after a nasty crash in final practice, all exchanged fastest laps.

On lap 38 of the 56 it was Leclerc and Bottas who had a skirmish in the compelling battle for second.

Leclerc then pitted and was momentarily held up by a comparatively sluggish change of tyres. 

Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified eighth for Renault, saw his race come to an early conclusion after the team retired his faltering car.

Norris and Kvyat were also forced out before the end.

The fourth race of the season takes place on the streets of Baku, in Azerbaijan, in a fortnight.

Results from the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday after 56 laps of the Shanghai International Circuit:

1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes-AMG) 305km in 1hr 32min 08.734sec

2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes-AMG) at 6.552sec

3. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) at 13.744sec

4. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) at 27.627sec

5. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) at 31.276sec

6. Pierre Gasly (FRA/Red Bull-Honda) at 1min 29.307sec

7. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Renault) at 1 lap

8. Sergio Perez (MEX/SportPesa Racing Point-Mercedes) at 1 lap

9. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) at 1 lap

10. Alexander Albon (THA/Toro Rosso-Honda) at 1 lap

11. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas) at 1 lap

12. Lance Stroll (CAN/SportPesa Racing Point-Mercedes) at 1 lap

13. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas) at 1 lap

14. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/McLaren-Renault) at 1 lap

15. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) at 1 lap

16. George Russell (GBR/Williams) at 2 laps

17. Robert Kubica (POL/Williams) at 2 laps

18. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Renault) at 6 laps

Retirements:

Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Toro Rosso-Honda), Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Renault)

Championship standings:

Drivers

1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 68

2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) 62

3. Max Verstappen (NED) 39

4. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 37

5. Charles Leclerc (MON) 36

6. Pierre Gasly (FRA) 13

7. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) 12

8. Lando Norris (GBR) 8

9. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) 8

10. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 6

11. Nico Hülkenberg (GER) 6

12. Sergio Perez (MEX) 5

13. Alexander Albon (THA) 3

14. Lance Stroll (CAN) 2

15. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) 1

Constructors

1. Mercedes-AMG 130

2. Ferrari 73

3. Red Bull-Honda 52

4. Renault 12

5. Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari 12

6. Haas 8

7. McLaren-Renault 8

8. SportPesa Racing Point-Mercedes 7

9. Toro Rosso-Honda 4

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