Lewis Hamilton dominates to win Chinese Grand Prix from Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton secured his first win of the season ahead of Sebastian Vettel in an enthralling Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton and Vettel finished the Chinese Grand Prix as they started it, in first and second position, and are now tied on 43 points for the world championship.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas completed the top-six, slipping back from P5 to P12 after spinning behind the safety vehicle. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo set the fifth-fastest time ahead of Williams driver Felipe Massa.

Hamilton pipped Ferrari's Vettel in Shanghai in a reverse of the opening race in Australia last month to go level with the German at the top of the standings.

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"I think we should have changed earlier, but obviously it's easy to look at what happened and say after the race".

Vettel hunted down Verstappen on Lap 29 when the Red Bull driver was locked up and ran wide on the Turn 14 hairpin, allowing Ferrari to take the second place. "I am looking forward to the fight with Sebastian and the other guys are going to be in amongst it".

"It is going to be one of the closest if not the closest [title race] I have ever experienced", said Hamilton.

Max Verstappen was instrumental, rising 13 places from P16 to P3. "We really worked hard for this".

"Then inside turn two, another vehicle, outside turn three.always trying to go around the outside or inside and it worked". His Ferrari team pulled him into the pits to change to slick tyres on just the second lap following the deployment of the virtual safety vehicle as Lance Stroll was punted out of the race by Sergio Perez.

Hamilton's buffer to Vettel was healthy throughout the race, with the German closing to within seven seconds late on, but he doubts it would have been the case without the safety auto.

A wet track caused havoc early on with the virtual safety auto deployed on lap one after Lance Stroll spun off in his Williams.

This was where luck went the way of Hamilton, in the shape of Antonio Giovinazzi, as the Italian lost control of his Sauber on the start-finish straight at the end of Lap 3 and crashed heavily. "I don't believe that, it was the ideal lap", said the four-time world champion, who looked unstoppable in yesterday's practice run, continuing in the rich vein that saw him draw first blood in Australia.

While Stoffel Vandoorne ailed to another Q1 dropout, Fernando Alonso did his usual trick of dragging the vehicle further up the grid than expected, finishing 13th in Q2.

  • Julie Sanders