Formula 1: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton eases to Chinese GP victory in F1's 1000th race
The Briton crossed the line 6.5 seconds ahead of Bottas, who started from pole, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel chalking up his first podium finish of the season in third
Lewis Hamilton seized the overall championship lead with a record sixth victory in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix with Valtteri Bottas completing a one-two for Mercedes in Formula One's 1000th race. The Briton crossed the line 6.5 seconds ahead of Bottas, who started from pole, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel chalking up his first podium finish of the season in third.
Hamilton's win in Shanghai was the landmark 75th of the 34-year-old's career and puts him just 16 victories short of Michael Schumacher's all time record tally of 91. It was also the Briton's second triumph in a row this season, after the five-time champion inherited victory in Bahrain two weeks ago, and Mercedes' third one-two in as many races. The result moves Hamilton into the overall championship lead for the first time this season. Team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who won the season-opening race in Australia and had led after the opening two rounds of the season, is six points behind in second. "It's not been the most straightforward of weekends, but what a fantastic result for the team," said Hamilton, who struggled throughout practice. "We came here, didn't know where we'd stand.
"To get a one-two together was really special in the 1000th GP." Bottas had hoped to leave Shanghai still in the championship lead. But Hamilton, starting alongside the Finn on the front-row, got the better start and immediately slotted into a lead he would keep throughout the 56 laps of racing. The closest Bottas was able to get to his team-mate was a shade under two seconds through the first round of pitstops.
"I think I lost it at the start," said Bottas. "I got some wheelspin when I went over the (start/finish) line." Ferrari, dominant in Bahrain, had gone into the weekend as favourites. But they had no answer to Mercedes' speed in Shanghai. Far from challenging the silver cars Vettel and Sebastian Vettel found themselves racing each other until Ferrari ordered the Monegasque, who had a maiden win snatched away from him by engine trouble in Bahrain, to let the four-time champion past much to his annoyance. "I'm happy to be on the podium," said Vettel. "But (the race was) tough because we tried to stick with them but just couldn't."
Max Verstappen, who briefly went wheel-to-wheel with Vettel for the final podium spot, finished fourth. Leclerc, chafing at the order to move over for Vettel, finished fifth. Pierre Gasly was sixth for Red Bull but claimed the point on offer for the fastest lap. Renault's Daniel Ricciardo who recorded his first finish of the season in seventh. Sergio Perez was eighth for Racing Point ahead of Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen. Alexander Albon, who started from the pitlane after missing qualifying due to a heavy crash in final practice, scored the final point in tenth, his second the top-10 finish in a row. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, McLaren's Lando Norris and Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat were the three retirements. The latter two and the other McLaren of Carlos Sains were involved in a three car tangle on the opening lap that resulted in a brief virtual safety car period.
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