Second-placed Mercedes driver tells his Chinese GP-winning teammate that he was too slow while leading and pushed him closer to the third-placed Ferrari
Shanghai: Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory in the Chinese GP yesterday, leading teammate Nico Rosberg across the line in an anti-climactic finish behind the safety car, as Mercedes regained their stranglehold at the top of the order.
Mercedes GP's British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton sprays champagne on one of the grid girls near the victory podium as he celebrates his win in the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai yesterday
Hamilton crossed the line at the head of a train of cars running in formation to take his 35th career win and a record-extending fourth victory in China with a pole-to-flag drive. Sebastian Vettel, winner of the last race in Malaysia, finished third.
The win marked a return to the top step of the podium for Mercedes, after being dealt a shock defeat by Vettel and Ferrari at the last race. But instead of celebrating the result, the team were left mending fences between their two drivers after a fuming Nico Rosberg accused Hamilton of compromising his race.
Rosberg, following Hamilton on track, complained to his team over the radio about the Briton's pace, saying he was being backed up into the clutches of Vettel's third-placed Ferrari.
"It's just now interesting to hear from you, Lewis, that you were just thinking about yourself with the pace in front, and necessarily that was compromising my race," Rosberg, who has been outqualified and outraced in each of the three opening races, pointedly told Hamilton in the post-race press conference.
"Driving slower than was maybe necessary at the beginning of stints meant that Sebastian was very close to me and that opened up the opportunity for Sebastian to try that early pitstop to try and jump me."
Vettel misses out
Vettel at one stage appeared poised to challenge for a second-straight win. But he was unable to keep the pace up and faded from contention towards the end of the race.
Lewis Hamilton of the Mercedes team makes a turn as he leads teammate Nico Rosberg, who is followed by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel during the Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai, China yesterday. Pics/Getty Images
He was very nearly caught by teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who finished fourth, but the late safety car intervention helped him to hold on ahead of the Finn to claim his third podium in as many races for Ferrari.
Hamilton's second win in three races allows him to further extend his lead at the top of the championship standings. The reigning world champion, who also won the season-opening Australian GP, is now on 68 points.
Former champion Vettel stays second on 55 points, neck and neck with Rosberg, who is a further four points adrift in third.
> As teenagers, Hamilton and Rosberg fought out a friendly rivalry when they both drove for Mercedes in the 2000 Formula A karting championship. Hamilton finished ahead of Rosberg at the top of the final standings.
> After reuniting at Mercedes in F1, cracks appear last year at Bahrain, where Rosberg complains about an overtaking manoeuvre following Hamilton's win. lAt Monaco GP Rosberg secures pole after locking up on his last qualifying lap. The resulting yellow flags prevent Hamilton improving on his time.
> Rosberg is incensed at the Hungarian GP after Hamilton ignores team orders to let him pass.
> Rosberg is accused of deliberately colliding with Hamilton and puncturing a tyre in the Belgian GP. He is disciplined by Mercedes.
> At Malaysian GP, Rosberg denies suggestions he deliberately slowed Hamilton by getting in his way in qualifying.