Motorsport
Ricciardo pipped by Verstappen as Hamilton wins Chinese Grand Prix
MOTORSPORT

Ricciardo pipped by Verstappen as Hamilton wins Chinese Grand Prix

Normal service was resumed in Shanghai, as Lewis Hamilton won a thrilling second race of the Formula One season.

Lewis Hamilton secured his first win of the season ahead of Sebastian Vettel in an enthralling Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.

MORE: Daniel Ricciardo qualifies in decent position as Hamilton takes pole

The Mercedes driver was left frustrated by his team's pit-stop strategy in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, but the constructors' champions got it right on a Shanghai International Circuit track which dried out after wet conditions at the start.


Hamilton switched to the soft tyres while in front when the safety car went through the pit lane following Sauber reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi's early crash and there was no catching the three-time world champion.

The Brit was also brought in for a new set of softs with 20 laps to go and was still in front when he got back on track, with Vettel unable to catch him.

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

Red Bull's Max Verstappen produced a magnificent, typically daring drive to work his way from the back of the grid at the start to finish third ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in a gripping battle.

It was Hamilton's day, though, as he won in China for a fifth time following the disappointment of missing out after starting on pole in Melbourne.

 

SAFETY FIRST AND NORMAL SERVICE IS RESUMED 

The masterful Hamilton said he was expecting an "unusual day" after clocking a record lap time to take a sixth consecutive pole, but normal service was resumed.

He won by 6.250 seconds after a chaotic start, reaping the rewards of the safety car going through the pit lane following an early smash from Giovinazzi, who crashed out in qualifying on Saturday and hit the pit wall after losing control of his car.

Mercedes switched Hamilton from intermediate to soft tyres after coming under early pressure, Ricciardo moving into second with the Red Bulls flying.


Hamilton stayed in front throughout a chaotic race to get back on the top step yet again. His team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished back in sixth.

 

MAGNIFICENT VERSTAPPEN

Verstappen showed why he is held in such high regard, working his way from the back of the grid to claim a brilliant third.

The teenage Dutchman was overtaking for fun, moving up to sixth in no time at all.

He then held off Ricciardo as colleagues went head-to-head right until the finish, with the Australian unable to get past the superb 19-year-old.


VETTEL PEGGED BACK

Vettel and Hamilton are now level on points, but the four-time world champion made a great fist of attempting to claim a second victory of the year.

He slipped back after a disappointing start, but passed Ricciardo after the pair went wheel to wheel and overtook Verstappen following an error from the youngster on lap 24.

Vettel closed in on Hamilton, but was unable to pass the man who will be out to deny him a fifth title.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +6.250secs
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +45.192s
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +46.035s
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +48.076s
6. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +48.808s
7. Carlos Sainz (1:12.893) 
8. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +1 lap
9. Sergio Perez (Force India) +1 lap
10. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +1 lap


DRIVER STANDINGS

1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - 43 points
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - 43 points
3. Max Verstappen (Mercedes) - 25 points
4. Valtteri Bottas  (Mercedes) - 23 points
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) - 22 points


 

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS

1. Mercedes - 66 points
2. Ferrari - 65 points
3. Red Bull - 37 points
4. Toro Rosso - 12 points
5. Force India - 10 points


NEXT UP

Hamilton will be looking to be stretch his advantage at the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend and banish the memories of last year, when he came second behind team-mate Nico Rosberg under the lights following a first-lap collision with his current colleague Bottas.

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