After watching Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel reign supreme at March’s Malaysian Grand Prix, Mercedes hit back with a familiar one-two in China, with Lewis Hamilton taking the crown over Nico Rosberg once again.
Sky Sports F1 revealed the result:
Starting in pole for the third Grand Prix on the spin, Hamilton sprung out of the traps and established a one-second lead over his team-mate after the very first lap.
He was almost angled in the grid, sending a message out to Rosberg that he was coming over immediately and getting his nose in front.
That’s how it remained until the chequered flag came down, with Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen making up the top four, as we see below:
|Chinese Grand Prix Race Result|
|9||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL||+32.117s|
|10||MARCUS ERICSSON||SAUBER||+1 lap|
|11||SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA||+1 lap|
|12||FERNANDO ALONSO||MCLAREN||+1 lap|
|13||JENSON BUTTON||MCLAREN||+1 lap|
|14||CARLOS SAINZ||TORO ROSSO||+1 lap|
|15||WILL STEVENS||MARUSSIA||+2 laps|
|16||ROBERTO MERHI||MARUSSIA||+2 laps|
|17||MAX VERSTAPPEN||TORO ROSSO||DNF|
|RT||DANIIL KVYAT||RED BULL||DNF|
|RT||NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA||DNF|
Hamilton and Mercedes Return to Form
In Malaysia, there was simply nothing Hamilton or Mercedes could do about the brilliance of Ferrari’s Vettel, but the roles were reversed in China, as the Englishman put on a masterclass display.
The rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg in last year’s season once again ignited, with the German pressing his team-mate all the way in the early exchanges.
Rosberg even got on the Mercedes team radio and demanded that Hamilton speed up but, keen to pit first and press home his advantage, Hamilton duly accepted the request.
Sure, he wasn’t exactly driving out of sight in the way that he did in last year’s race, where he finished 18 seconds clear of Rosberg, but he was in control.
An impressive turn of pace ahead of his lap 33 pit saw him come back out with a six-second lead, and from then on, there was only going to be one winner.
He crossed the line in rather unexciting fashion thanks to Max Verstappen’s issues bringing out the safety car, but it was a big statement from Mercedes.
As Hamilton crossed the line, Mercedes tweeted their ecstasy:
It was nothing more than the world champion deserved, though. He was quickest in every session but for Q1 and chalked up the fastest lap—Ferrari simply could not compete.
Mercedes owe a great deal to the efforts of Rosberg, too, having kept the Italians at bay with an excellent drive in second place.
While the race finished with a bit of a whimper, the job that Hamilton did was superb. He has a phenomenal record in Shanghai, and on this, his fourth win at the venue, he looked right at home.
Formula One journalist Mark Gallagher praised the champion, saying that he makes winning appear a walk in the park:
Speaking after the race, the Englishman reflected on an excellent weekend for all at Mercedes, per BBC Sport:
First of all a fantastic job by team. It was great to have a smooth weekend. It was about controlling the gap for me and saving tyres for when I needed them. The safety car wasn't helpful as it was an anti-climax but as long as no-one was hurt then that's the important thing.
Ferrari also had a stellar weekend, with Vettel claiming enough points to keep up the heat on Hamilton at the top of the World Championship standings:
|Formula 1 Drivers Standings|
|8||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING||11|
|10||NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA||6|
|11||MAX VERSTAPPEN||TORO ROSSO||6|
|12||CARLOS SAINZ||TORO ROSSO||6|
|14||DANIIL KVYAT||RED BULL RACING||2|
|15||SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA||1|
The Bahrain Grand Prix is next up the F1 elite—a race where Ferrari has enjoyed plenty of success in the past.
With Hamilton, Rosberg and Mercedes in this kind of form, though, the chances of further glory could well be out the window.