Lewis Hamilton made it a hat-trick of wins this season with victory during Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, the first time that he has won three races on the bounce in his Formula One career.
Hamilton, in scintillating form, strolled to the 25th victory of his F1 career at a mere canter, with the 2008 champion never seriously threatened throughout the race. The win puts him an equal eighth in the all time list of winners, tied on 25 victories with his Mercedes boss Niki Lauda and Jim Clark, whose record for the most pole positions for a British driver Hamilton broke on Saturday.
Converting pole into an early lead, Hamilton proceeded to drop his closest challenger, Sebastian Vettel, by over a second a lap. If this pace was not worrying enough, the Mercedes man even had the luxury of being the last of the front runners to stop on lap 18, rejoining clear of Alonso, who had passed Vettel via the undercut in the open window.
From there on in Hamilton controlled his pace, managing his fuel load and tyres to the chequered flag, in as simple a win as you are likely to see for the 2008 champion this season.
Hamilton’s third consecutive win leaves him on 75 points, just four adrift of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at the top of the drivers’ championship.
Nico Rosberg, despite finishing as the runner-up to his Mercedes team-mate for a third successive weekend, will take heart from the fact that he maintained his place at the head of the drivers’ championship with a gritty recovery drive.
Starting fourth after a mistake cost him a place on the front row on Saturday, Rosberg’s race got off to a poor start after he bogged down off the line, which led to an incident that saw him bang wheels with Valtteri Bottas’ Williams into turn one, dropping the Mercedes man down to fifth.
With fuel consumption a real concern, after his car’s telemetry failed prior to the start of the race, Rosberg produced a solid display to recover to a distant second at the chequered flag, some 18 seconds behind an all-dominant Lewis Hamilton.
As a matter of damage limitation the race was a successful one for the German.
“It’s definitely good I’m still in the lead, especially considering that the whole weekend was really, really bad for me,” he said. “It went completely wrong in so many different respects.”
Mercedes extended their lead in the constructors’ championship to 97 points with their fourth win of the year, and a third successive 1-2 for the Brackley-based team.
Images courtesy of Pirelli Media and Mercedes AMG PETRONAS