Start China Mercedes double victory at anniversary in China

Mercedes double victory at anniversary in China

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Lewis Hamilton has the 1,000th on Sunday. Grand Prix Formula 1 history in China decided for themselves. The British champion prevailed in Shanghai ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas (+6.552), celebrated his 75th victory and took first place in the drivers‘ championship. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel (+13,744) finished third.

For the German it was the first podium finish of the season. Dutch driver Max Verstappen finished fourth in the Red Bull, ahead of second-placed Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, while his team-mate Pierre Gasly finished sixth with the fastest lap ahead of Daniel Ricciardo (Renault). Leclerc complained in the final phase about transmission problems, the up-and-coming 21-year-old Monegasse had to let Vettel overtake early at the behest of the team against his will.

Mercedes underpinned meanwhile his dominance and took the third double victory in the third race. Already at the start, Hamilton passed Polesetter Bottas second, then delivered a superb performance and cheered on his second win of the season. For the 34-year-old, it is also the sixth success in China. Hamilton is now six points ahead of Bottas in the World Cup classification and 31 already before Vettel. „Fantastic job guys, let’s keep this up,“ Hamilton said via PABX.

Hamilton would have expected more resistance from the Ferraris because they had been quick in the first two races of the season. „That we are so sovereign first and second and even to the 1,000th. Race, that’s great. The start has decided in our favor. That was the difference, „said Hamilton. The fivefold world champion did not want to overvalue the third double victory for Mercedes in the third race. „It’s still tight. You never know what the next race will be like. Everything can be different again in Baku. “

Teammate Bottas, winner of the season opener in Australia, took second place behind Hamilton in a row. „I lost the race at the start, that’s easy. The race speed was okay, „said the Finn, who was satisfied with the season so far. „It’s still early, but it’s going well. Especially for the team, we can be proud of that. „The next race will be in two weeks in Azerbaijan.
Vettel third chance no chance

Vettel remained even after a benevolent Ferrari power word only the joy of winning the duel for third place. In the fight for the victory, the German could intervene in any phase. „I am happy to be on the podium. It was hard though. We tried to stay tuned, but it just was not possible, „Vettel said ten years after his only victory so far in Shanghai.

Not even the team order against „rookie“ Leclerc, who had to rank fourth behind Vettel, brought the quadruple ex-world champion the necessary impetus to prevent the double victory of the Silver Arrows. „I thought I could go faster. But then it was hard for me to find the rhythm. I then had some problems and the advantage that I had, playful again, „said Vettel.
Exciting race start

The prelude to the jubilee race was thrilling. Even before the first corner Hamilton pushed past Bottas, who had taken his seventh pole in qualifying. Vettel also wanted to take advantage of the weak start of the Finn from third position, but found no place to overtake. Instead, he had to let go of his stable rival Leclerc, who had been brought down in Bahrain for his almost certain first Grand Prix victory due to a defect.

Vettel’s plan to stay tuned to the two Mercedes drivers and make time on the straights thanks to his powerful Ferrari drive did not materialize after the first three laps. The gap of Leclerc on Bottas was almost two seconds, Vettel was 2.5 seconds back. So the tension in the leadership group already decreased after the first few kilometers.
Ferrari maneuver brings nothing

Ferrari wanted to shorten the gap to the Mercedes leading duo. And so Leclerc was asked to make more speed, otherwise he had to let Vettel pass. In the eleventh lap, the Monegasse got the unmistakable instruction: „Let Sebastian pass, let Sebastian pass.“ Leclerc obeyed, Vettel was now third.

The Ferrari apparently as Leclerc faster rated German, however, did not come to the top. „And what now?“ Asked the urgent Leclerc smugly via the box radio. „I’m losing a lot of time.“ Vettel slowed and was then told to put more pressure on himself. Hamilton, meanwhile, was about half a second faster per lap than the two Ferrari drivers.

Vettel came on lap 18 as the first pilot from the leading quartet in the box and then had to hold in a wheel-to-wheel duel Verstappen in check, in the 36th Round came Vettel for the second time in the box to fresh tires pick up. One lap later, Mercedes brought both drivers into the pits. Within 6.2 seconds, the mechanics completed the double job, whereby Hamilton and Bottas successfully claimed the lead – and did not give up to the finish.