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April 15, 2019

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Hamilton triumphs in historic race

Lewis Hamilton continued his dominance at Shanghai International Circuit, winning the 2019 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix in what was the 1,000th race in F1 history.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who started from pole position, finished second while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel came in third. The extra point for the fastest lap went to Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly who created it in the final lap yesterday.

“Delicious” was how Hamilton described his sixth Chinese Grand Prix title, the most among all drivers in the China race’s 16-year history.

“To have a one-two together is really special in the 1,000th Grand Prix,” the 34-year-old said. “The start was where I was able to make the difference, and after that it’s kind of history.

“The strategists in the team have been on point for these first three races so we need to keep it up. It’s so close between us all. I have no idea how the next race is going to turn out.”

Bottas made a poor start from pole and lost position to his teammate into the first corner. A virtual safety car was triggered briefly after McLaren’s Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat got involved in a three-car tangle on the opening lap.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc got ahead of Vettel at the start, but was instructed by the team to let his teammate pass him on the 11th lap. Leclerc was not pleased with the decision.

Hamilton established a five-second advantage over Bottas with about one-third of the 56-lap race gone. On lap 36, Mercedes daringly pitted both Hamilton and Bottas on the same lap. They emerged first and third respectively.

Bottas then quickly pushed past second-placed Leclerc to take home Mercedes’ third one-two finish of the season.

Vettel also pitted on lap 36 for fresh mediums, using them to breeze past Leclerc himself on lap 42.

Ferrari then decided to roll the dice and give Leclerc some fresh mediums too, to see if he could go after the fourth place he looked in danger of losing to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

He couldn’t, however, and that was how they finished.

Leclerc eventually came in fifth behind Verstappen. Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly was sixth, followed by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez. Kimi Raikkonen finished ninth for Alfa Romeo and Thailand’s Alexander Albon took the final point for Toro Rosso.

Albon had to start the race from the pitlane after missing qualifying due to a crash in practice session.

Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified eighth for Renault, saw his race come to an early end due to a faltering car. Lando Norris and Daniil Kvyat were also forced out before the end.

Vettel, having been the beneficiary of the Ferrari team orders, called them “fair” but said he was not happy with the pace of his car.

“I’m happy to be on the podium,” the German said. “It’s tough. We tried to stick with them. But we just couldn’t. They were too quick right from the start.”

After the latest win in Shanghai, Hamilton is just 16 victories short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91. He is leading the drivers’ championship on 68 points, followed by Bottas (62), Verstappen (39), Vettel (37) and Leclerc (36).

Mercedes is leading the constructors’ championship on 130 points, followed by Ferrari (73) and Red Bull (52).


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