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CHINESE GP – Lewis Hamilton takes championship lead with a fifth victory in Shanghai

Lewis Hamilton has taken his third back to back win and his fifth win at the Chinese Grand Prix, taking the lead of the championship from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. The five-times champion overtook his teammate before pulling away to take victory in the 1,000th Grand Prix by six seconds.

Hamilton got a better start on the run down to the first corner followed by Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari as they passed their teammates on the run down to the first corner. Sebastian Vettel finished third ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc after Ferrari used team orders in the race.

The Monacan passed Vettel at the start, before being instructed by lap eleven but the German failed to pull away hampering the rest of his race. Vettel couldn’t close in on Hamilton or Bottas, and it was Leclerc who was now within stuck in dirty air in DRS range.

Ferrari then opted to go long, with Leclerc on the first and second stint, leaving him out of sync with the rest of the top five and also some 15 seconds behind Verstappen with less than a quarter of the race remaining.

Lewis Hamilton said “It’s not been the most straight forward of weekends but what a fantastic result for the team. We didn’t know where we would stand with the Ferraris, they were so quick in the last week.”

“Valtteri was quick all weekend and to have a one-two together is really special in the 1,000th GP. The start was where I was able to make the difference.”

Valtteri Bottas added “I lost it at the start. The car was feeling OK and otherwise, the pace was similar. In the dirty air, I couldn’t follow. Shame about the start, I got some wheel spin when I went over the start-finish line and I lost it there.”

Drama was never far away in the midfield, at the hairpin Daniil Kvyat lost the rear of the car, then bounced off the rear of Carlos Sainz. That sent Sainz torpedoing into his teammate Lando Norris, earning the Russian a penalty and pushing Sainz out the points, as well as causing Norris’s retirement.

Kvyat said “I absolutely disagree with the penalty. There was no understeer. I don’t see that this incident – I have seen my onboard and Lando’s – was particularly deserving of a penalty… it was a sandwich, I will go and see behind closed doors with the stewards what happened.”

While Carlos Sainz says: “From my side, it’s lap one, I understand his frustrations and it can happen, but its’ lap one and there’s 55 to go. I think he knew we were there. It’s a shame because it’s a long race and you can overtake even if you don’t get the best starts.”

Lando Norris says: “My first DNF in Formula 1… it was disappointing but it would’ve been nice to do another race. Not what we liked or hopped for but the only positive was looking at Carlos’ pace after the incident.”

Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Pere all achieved their best results of the year. Gasly was in a race of his own, after running immediately behind his teammate in the opening laps, but it was probably too much to expect him to run nineteen laps on the softs. By the time he pitted he was well adrift of the battle with the Ferraris.

The Frenchman was left in a race for sixth, with some clear air he decided to pit and go onto claim fastest lap and the bonus point.

Red Bull remained well ahead of the midfield, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg lead the midfield a lap down on the leaders. The French manufacturer opted to split the strategy Hulkenberg in early to swap from soft to hard tyres on lap 12 while leaving Daniel Ricciardo out for a long first stint on the softs.

However, the German was forced to retire early on.

Sergio Perez was unable to mount an attack on Ricciardo, the Racing Point driver put in a long stint on mediums early on to get into eighth staying ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn dropped behind both Haas’s early on, then made the best of fresher rubber to go by both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean to claim ninth.

It was a difficult weekend for Haas, both Magnussen and Grosjean failing to score points and split by the Racing Point of Kevin Magnussen. The Frenchman was eleventh as the final lap begun, but was forced to back off as he tried to chase Alex Albon as they were lapped.

Antonio Giovinazzi finished the race fifteenth ahead of the two Williams, with George Russell ahead of Robert Kubica.

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Jack Fielding
Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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