Mercedes driver Hamilton wins Chinese GP from pole

Apr 10, 2017, 01:05

The 19-year-old finished 45 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton to claim his first podium in Shanghai and showed once again why he'll be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Ferrari's Vettel won the season-opening race in Melbourne with Hamilton second, but the positions were reversed on this occasion.

Hamilton struck back at his Ferrari rival in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, winning the 56-lap race ahead of the German, a fortnight after Vettel beat the Mercedes driver in the season-opener in Australia.

"He is at his best and he is phenomenally quick".

Hamilton replied: "We've worked really hard for this, we've got to keep pushing".

"I quite like him up here next to us", he said. "Because then when you come out on top, it's so much more satisfying".

The next race is the Bahrain Grand Prix on April 16. Kimi Raikkonen and Bottas were fifth and sixth, with all four cars covered by less than four seconds at the flag.

Hamilton changed to soft tyres while in front when the safety auto went through the pit lane following Sauber reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi's early crash, with a wet track drying out. The Toro Rosso driver dropped to the back of the field before Turn 1 such was the lack of grip and then ran off at the first corner, but would soon take advantage of a safety vehicle period.

It was a day for the stewards with Vettel investigated but cleared for lining up on the grid in the wrong place, Stroll/Perez for the lap 1 crash, and Kevin Magnussen for driving unnecessarily slowly behind the SC.

Which 2017 F1 driver earns the biggest salary? "I think it's going to be the closest championship race I've been involved in", he added. "They are very, very strong", he said after today's race. This year, as well.

"So, I think we were a good match". Red Bull - 37 points 4.

Hamilton's win in Shanghai means he and Vettel have a victory and a second place apiece after the first two races.

"I didn't really understand what was going on behind because I had the Red Bulls [in second and third] and the Ferraris weren't getting past".

"I was targeting... if we could score some nice points that would be positive, but then the first lap was very challenging". The Dutchman held off a late charge from his Red Bull team-mate to complete the podium. Ferrari's Vettel didn't enjoy such a smooth beginning and nearly lost his 2nd place on the first bend when Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo made a move.

Asked if passing all those cars on the opening lap felt like playing a video game, Verstappen said: "More or less".

Marchionne expressed some frustration with the failure of Raikkonen to get past Daniel Ricciardo in the early stages of the race, at a time when Vettel was also behind him. Apart from Stroll and Giovinazzi, McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Vandoorne as well as Daniil Kvyat of Torro Rosso retired from the race due to mechanical issues.