Lewis Hamilton wins Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai
Third straight F1 win for Hamilton
Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg finishes second
Fernando Alonso claims the final podium spot in third
Britain’s Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two at the Chinese Grand Prix Sunday as his teammate Nico Rosberg clung on to his lead in the F1 world championship title race.
It was the third straight victory for Hamilton after his retirement in the opening round in Australia and he led for every one of the 56 laps in Shanghai after starting from pole position.
By contrast, Rosberg had to battle through the field after a wretched start and only overhauled Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari after the final round of pit stops.
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Rosberg, who won in Australia, has a four-point lead over Hamilton after four rounds of the 2014 season, which is being dominated by their all-conquering Mercedes team.
Alonso’s third was a rare bright spot in a difficult season for Ferrari, whose team boss Stefano Domenicali quit earlier this week, but it was a frustrating afternoon for Red Bull and defending four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.
The German had to give best to his rookie teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the battle for a distant fourth after initially running in second following a fine start.
Vettel also appeared to disregard team orders after being told to let Australia’s Ricciardo past.
“Tough luck” came the reply over race radio, but he did move over shortly afterwards.
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Hamilton was involved in an epic battle with Rosberg in Bahrain, but spent much of the latest race in splendid isolation, finishing over 18 seconds clear as he took the checkered flag.
“It’s incredible, I just can’t believe how amazing this car is,” the 2008 world champion said in his post-race podium interview. “I was just really racing myself,” he added.
Two-time champion Alonso was delighted to have edged ahead of the two Red Bulls after the ructions within his team which have seen Domenicali replaced by Marco Mattiacci.
“It was a good weekend, we improved the car and were more competitive,” he said.
“We’ve not had the start to the season we would have liked, but we are still in the fight,” added the Spaniard.
Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Force India, just holding off Finn Valtteri Bottas in his Williams.
Bottas and Rosberg made heavy contact on the first corner but both were able to continue unhindered. “There were cars all over the place and it was great my car held on,” a relieved Rosberg said.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez in the second Force India and youngster Daniil Kvyat in a Toro Rosso completed the points scoring positions.
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Hamilton was completing his 25th career win and it was the first time he has achieved a run of three successive victories, underlining his challenge for a coveted second world crown.
With four races out of 19 gone, Mercedes already have established a massive lead in the constructors’ standings with 154 points, 97 more than second-placed Red Bull, who disappointed in the race proper Sunday after promising performances in practice and qualifying.
They will hope to have closed the gap in technical prowess by the time of the fifth round of the season in Barcelona from May 9-11, a circuit which has favored Red Bull in the past.