Lewis Hamilton made up for a disappointing Australia to dominate the Chinese Grand Prix, and level it up at the top of the championship.
The race started on the intermediate tyres after some rain a few hours before. Although the track was nearly dry as the race started, only 1 driver chose to started on the dry tyres- Sainz. Hamilton got a good start and maintained the lead, with Verstappen charging up the field from 16th to 7th place very quickly.
The virtual safety car came out after Stroll crashed out of the race, leading Vettel to pit for the soft tyres. Unfortunately for him, the safety then came out after Giovinazzi crashed around the final corner- just like he did in qualifying. This meant Hamilton, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Bottas were all ahead of Vettel. Hamilton and Bottas were on the softs, with both the Red Bull’s on the super-softs.
However, Bottas managed to spin somehow under the safety car as he tried to bring heat into his tyres. He dropped into 12th place, making it a long afternoon for him. On the restart, a superb double overtake by Perez was followed by a daring move from Verstappen on Raikkonen for 3rd place.
He then dived up the inside of his teammate for 2nd place, and he and Hamilton eased away from the rest of the field. Hulkenburg, after a great qualifying and great start, picked up 15 seconds worth of penalties for overtaking infringements under the safety car.
Vandoorne and Kvyat quickly followed the others out of the race. Crucially, Vettel managed to make the move on teammate Raikkonen for P4. The German then made a bold pass around the outside of Ricciardo into turn 6 to get onto the podium. Meanwhile, Bottas was on a charge, using his huge engine advantage to ease passed Alonso for 7th place.
Just as we were looking forward to a battle between Vettel and Verstappen, the young Dutchman went off at the hairpin, gifting 2nd place to Vettel. Red Bull then pitted him for another set of the super-softs. This triggered Ferrari to pit Vettel for another set of the softs, freeing up a free pit stop for Hamilton.
Raikkonen was now 2nd and getting very agitated by his team not pitting him. When his team finally pit him, he was down in 6th place. The Ferrari man and Bottas then quickly dispatched of the impressive Sainz, ending their progress today.
Alonso was having a torrid time, trying his best to carry his struggling car. However, his race ended thanks to a driveshaft problem after he went wide defending from Sainz earlier on in the race. Perez took a free pit stop after being passed by Magnussen, with Ocon in 10th just behind his teammate.
At the front, the drama had not yet ended. Ricciardo was very close to Verstappen and on the final lap, looked up the inside into the final hairpin. However, he was unable to make the move and the Dutchman took the final podium spot, having started 16th.
At the front, though, no one could stop Lewis Hamilton. Pole position, fastest lap and leading every lap meant it was another Grand Slam for him. A crucial victory for Hamilton after what was a disappointing Australia. Vettel put on a show to comeback to 2nd place, he and Hamilton are now tied at the top of the standings. Raikkonen cut a frustrated figure in 5th, while Bottas, Sainz, Magnussen, Perez and Ocon rounding out the points.
- Alonso (DNF)
- Kvyat (DNF)
- Vandoorne (DNF)
- Giovinazzi (DNF)
- Stroll (DNF)
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