Hamilton hits back with Chinese GP win

    Hamilton and his Mercedes team bounced back from defeat against Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in Australia.

    Published On Apr 10, 2017 10:27:00 AM

    1,954 Views

    Hamilton hits back with Chinese GP win

    Lewis Hamilton converted pole position into a controlled Formula 1 race victory in a mixed-conditions Chinese Grand Prix.

    Hamilton and his Mercedes team bounced back from defeat against Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in Australia, the German failing to present a major challenge this time around, not helped by losing time in traffic after making an early pitstop.

    Vettel did finish the race a clear runner-up, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen completing the podium from 16th on the grid, holding off a strong late challenge from team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

    While the Shanghai track was drying quickly after morning rain, all but two cars - the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz and the Renault of Jolyon Palmer (which pitted at the end of the formation lap) - had intermediate tyres fitted.

    When the lights went out, poleman Hamilton eased towards Turn 1 in the lead, whereas fellow front row starter Vettel only just kept the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at bay.

    There was progress for Red Bull, with Ricciardo picking off Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen for fourth after the opening sequence of corners and Verstappen powering through to seventh by the end of the opening lap, having made up nine places.

    Midway through the first lap, Lance Stroll, who had made his first Q3 appearance on Saturday, was punted off by Force India's Sergio Perez, the Canadian rookie's Williams beached in the gravel and forcing an appearance by the virtual safety car.

    That remained for a couple of laps, with Hamilton now enjoying a healthy advantage and a number of drivers, including Vettel, opting to switch to slicks.

    Most of the frontrunners were on intermediates as green flags waved again, but there was another crash moments later as Antonio Giovinazzi lost his car on the main straight, slamming into the pitwall and leading to a full safety car period.

    When the race restarted on lap seven, the whole field was now on slicks, with Ricciardo Hamilton's closest rival, as Vettel lost ground through the earlier stop and Bottas spun under the safety car when trying to warm up his tyres.

    In green-flag conditions, a surging Verstappen quickly passed Raikkonen for third, before picking off Ricciardo a few laps later with a dive into Turn 6.

    Hamilton pulled away at the front, with Ricciardo quickly dropping off the pair and instead working to keep the Ferrari duo at bay.

    Vettel picked off Raikkonen first, and he needed little time to pull off a superb outside move on Ricciardo.

    As Vettel applied pressure to Verstappen, the Red Bull driver locked up into the hairpin at the end of the lap, allowing the Ferrari through before pitting shortly after.

    Upon rejoining, Verstappen lit up the timing screens and, after he took fifth from Bottas with another late Turn 6 lunge, all the drivers ahead would make their stops as well.

    Eventually, this left Hamilton seven seconds clear of Vettel, and the gap between the pair remained around that point for the rest of the grand prix, eventually ending up at 6.250s at the chequered flag.

    It was much closer in the fight for third, as the final laps of the race featured a tense fight between Verstappen and Ricciardo.

    Verstappen was frustrated at the Haas of Romain Grosjean running ahead a lap down, but whatever interference the Frenchman caused was not enough for Ricciardo to capitalise.

    Ricciardo tried a last-lap lunge at the hairpin, but came up short, having to settle for fourth place, while Raikkonen led recovering compatriot Bottas in fifth.

    Sainz was best of the rest for Toro Rosso in seventh, while Kevin Magnussen scored his first points for his new team Haas in eighth.

    He overtook the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, with the duo completing the top 10 as they bagged another double points finish for the Indian outfit.

    There were five retirements in total, Stroll and Giovinazzi exiting in incidents and three other drivers foiled by reliability - Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat and the McLaren duo of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso, the latter pulling over with a driveshaft failure after battling Sainz.

    CHINESE GRAND PRIX RESULT

    POSDRIVERCARLAPSGAP
    1Lewis HamiltonMercedes561h37m36.158s
    2Sebastian VettelFerrari566.250s
    3Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault5645.192s
    4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault5646.035s
    5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari5648.076s
    6Valtteri BottasMercedes5648.808s
    7Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault561m12.893s
    8Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari551 Lap
    9Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes551 Lap
    10Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes551 Lap
    11Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari551 Lap
    12Nico HulkenbergRenault551 Lap
    13Jolyon PalmerRenault551 Lap
    14Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes551 Lap
    15Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari551 Lap
    -Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda33Halfshaft
    -Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Renault18Hydraulics
    -Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Honda17Fuel pressure
    -Antonio GiovinazziSauber/Ferrari3Spun off
    -Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes0Collision

    DRIVERS' STANDINGS

    POSDRIVERPOINTS
    1Sebastian Vettel43
    1Lewis Hamilton43
    3Max Verstappen25
    4Valtteri Bottas23
    5Kimi Raikkonen22
    6Daniel Ricciardo12
    7Carlos Sainz10
    8Felipe Massa8
    9Sergio Perez8
    10Kevin Magnussen4
    11Daniil Kvyat2
    12Esteban Ocon2
    13Nico Hulkenberg0
    14Romain Grosjean0
    15Antonio Giovinazzi0
    16Jolyon Palmer0
    16Stoffel Vandoorne0
    18Marcus Ericsson0

    CONSTRUCTORS' STANDINGS

    POSCONSTRUCTORPOINTS
    1Mercedes66
    2Ferrari65
    3Red Bull/Renault37
    4Toro Rosso/Renault12
    5Force India/Mercedes10
    6Williams/Mercedes8
    7Haas/Ferrari4
    8Renault0
    9Sauber/Ferrari0
    10McLaren/Honda0

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