Lewis Hamilton has delivered a crushing victory at the Chinese Grand Prix to join Sebastian Vettel at the summit of this season’s Formula One championship following his Australian GP disappointment.
In a race that was marked by a wet start and some intense wheel-to-wheel battles, Hamilton coasted to his fifth victory in Shanghai with a lights-to-flag win, while his Ferrari title rival, Vettel, who took the chequered flag at the opening round in Australia, bounced back from fifth to finish in second place.
Hamilton may have won the race, but Red Bull’s Max Verstappen stole hearts with some insane driving that saw him rise from 16th to complete podium in third, fending off a challenge from his team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages.
There were fears over the poor weather which wreaked havoc with Friday’s practice schedule and almost forced the race to be moved forward by 24 hours, but the grand prix still went ahead as scheduled and pole-sitter Hamilton made no mistake on the 380-yard dash down to turn one with Vettel on his tail.
Four-time champion, Vettel then got himself in a fix after losing out on strategy in a chaotic opening, which kept the shape of the race in doubt following a crash by Williams rookie Lance Stroll, punted off by Force India’s Sergio Perez.
From there, Hamilton could control the race at will and was pretty much untroubled as he coasted to his 54th race victory and 104th podium finish, equaling the legendary Alain Prost.