Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has secured a victory, his first of the season, at the Chinese Grand Prix, after managing to hold off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, as the two are now tied leading the Championship at 43 points.
In 3rd finished Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, as the young Dutchman stormed up the pack from 17th place to secure driver of the day, after a brilliant drive.
The race began on a slightly damp track with wet patches, forcing the majority of the grid onto intermediate tyres, excepting Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, who boldly chose to move onto super soft tyres, a move that did not pay off, as he was unable to get any grip at the start, as most of the pack shot past him, leaving the Spaniard in 19th.
As the race had barely got underway, Williams’ Lance Stroll went onto the gravel under the wet conditions, after being hit by Force India’s Sergio Perez, forcing a virtual safety car, which Vettel pitted under, a choice which Ferrari would soon regret.
The biggest crash of the race happened on Lap 4, as Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi crashed on the start/finish straight after going through the water under the media centre, and hit the barrier.
This forced a safety car, which had to go through the pit lane as the track was cleared, meaning that many cars pitted, leaving Vettel at a disadvantage.
The safety car was soon in; on Lap 7, as the cars went racing again.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was soon under investigation for overtaking both under the virtual safety car and the safety car itself. He received a five-second penalty for overtaking under the virtual safety car, and a 10-second penalty for overtaking under the safety car.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was also complaining of “zero torque” and of a possible engine issue as he was stuck behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, however nearing the end of the race this problem seemed to be resolved, as after pitting for super soft tyres, he seemed to gain his wings.
McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne faced retirement due to a fuel problem, and shortly after his teammate Fernando Alonso also had to retire from the race due to a driveshaft problem, as smoke was coming from his left right tyre.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was also seen parked at the side of the track, as he also retired following power steering and gearbox issues.
Nearing the end of the race, Ricciardo was right behind Verstappen, who was complaining about being stuck behind Romain Grosjean, who the Dutchman was attempting to lap. However Verstappen was not close enough to trigger the blue flags, and was complaining about being stuck in the turbulent air, calling it “ridiculous“.
The next race of the season takes place next weekend, in Bahrain.