Lewis Hamilton, after finishing in second in Australia, came in first place at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes has won the F1 Chinese Grand Prix, starting from pole and never relinquishing his lead throughout a race that started wet and involved both a virtual and a real safety car in the first few laps. He took the top spot ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
Rounding out the podium places is Max Verstappen of Red Bull, who nearly was overtook by teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the final laps. Vettel started the race in second place but poor pit timing during the virtual safety car doomed his chances at keeping pace with Hamilton like he did in Australia.
At the start of the race, Vettel was well out of his starting box but race stewards declined to punish him. All four of the front cars got off the line well, but racing quickly came to a standstill when Sergio Perez of Force India crashed into Lance Stroll of Williams.
Perez was able to continue the race, while Stroll had to retire. The virtual safety car was deployed, and some drivers went into the pits. Vettel went in, which turned out to be a mistake as Antonio Giovinazzi of Sauber crashed out not long after they started racing again. That prompted a full safety car, and many cars went into the pits to get off the intermediate tires then.
Ultimately, it resulted in Vettel losing a few places while Max Verstappen of Red Bull just so happened to end up from 17th on the grid to third place on the grid, behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo and ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel.
Verstappen had the pace though, and ultimately was able to cleanly pass Ricciardo to take second place behind Hamilton. Verstappen quickly outpaced himself from Ricciardo and before long, Ricciardo was a full six seconds behind his teammate, and holding up the Ferraris behind him.
Eventually, Vettel made it past Raikkonen, and then overtook Ricciardo to begin chasing Verstappen. Verstappen’s lap times had begun to drop by that point, and it wasn’t long before Vettel was in DRS range of Verstappen, while the pair of them were a good 10 seconds back of Hamilton.
Vettel made his pass when Verstappen locked up big time, flat spotting his tires. That forced him to pit early to try and salvage the progress he’d made, and he came out with new super soft tires in sixth place, behind Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Valterri Bottas.
It didn’t take long for him to make up some spots though, he eventually made it past Bottas and Ricciardo to get back into fourth when Ricciardo pitted. Bottas was on older tires at the time as well. Eventually, the gap was just right for Mercedes to pit both Bottas and Hamilton, and they did so, with Hamilton coming out in first and seemingly in control of the rest of the race.
Bottas came out in seventh place. At this point, Fernando Alonso had to stop due to a fuel issue, joining teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, who retired earlier on Lap 18. Raikkonen finally pit on Lap 40, and came out in sixth, before quickly making up a spot to fifth. The race came to an end with Ricciardo fighting Verstappen for the final podium spot, and Verstappen complaining about Romain Grosjean, who he’d lapped, not moving out of his way.
But it seemed more desperation than anything from Verstappen, as Grosjean was consistently a couple seconds ahead of Verstappen in the final laps. Ricciardo attempted multiple times to get past Verstappen, but he could not do it.
It was a rough weekend for Giovinazzi, who also crashed out in qualifying on Saturday.
Jolyon Palmer and Romain Grosjean started the race with five-place grid penalties due to not slowing down under double yellow flags in qualifying. Antonio Giovinazzi also served a five-place penalty due to a gearbox change after crashing out in qualifying.
Below is the full finishing order for the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix:
Chinese Grand Prix Finishing Order
|Driver||Team||Time To Leader|
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||45.192|
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||46.035|
|Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso||1:12.893|
|Kevin Magnussen||Haas||1 LAP|
|Sergio Pérez||Force India||1 LAP|
|Esteban Ocon||Force India||1 LAP|
|Romain Grosjean||Haas||1 LAP|
|Nico Hülkenberg||Renault||1 LAP|
|Jolyon Palmer||Renault||1 LAP|
|Felipe Massa||Williams||1 LAP|
|Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||1 LAP|
|Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||DNF|