Lewis Hamilton won Formula 1’s 1000thworld championship race, getting the jump of polesitting team-mate Valtteri Bottas off the line at the start to take a lead he then held for the full race distance. Sebastian Vettel was third ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Hamilton made a good start from second place on the grid to power past Bottas, who afterward admitted he had been disadvantaged by momentary wheelspin on the start/finish line.
Starting from the same side of the grid as Hamilton, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc also got away well to steal P3 from team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Behind them, Verstappen held fifth off the line, with Red Bull team-mate Pierre Gasly also retaining his starting position of sixth ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Further back, there was trouble for McLaren as both Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris got tagged in a battle with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. Norris was pitched into the air briefly and sustained floor damage while Sainz damaged his front wing. Both pitted for repairs at the end of the first lap and rejoined at the back of the field. Kvyat was soon handed a drive-through penalty for causing the collision.
By lap 10 Hamilton had opened up a solid lead ahead of his team-mate, but fourth-placed Vettel was now pushing to get past Leclerc. Despite the younger driver’s protestations that he was quicker than the German, Leclerc was told to defer to the four-time champion and on lap 11 he pulled across to allow Vettel through to third place.
At the end of lap 17 Verstappen headed for the pit lane to take on hard tyres. Sensing a threat, Ferrari mirrored the move with Vettel on the next lap and the German rejoined just ahead of the Dutch driver.
With Vettel on cold tyres, Verstappen smelled blood and the Red Bull driver launched a bold attack down the inside into the hairpin. He got past but locked up slightly and Vettel was able to hold a wide line and retained his position, with Verstappen being forced out onto the grass.
It was the Dutch driver’s only realistic chance and once Vettel’s tyres were working well, he began to pull away from the Red Bull.
The race then settled until the second round of stops, again triggered by Verstappen. The Dutchman pitted at the end of lap 34 for medium tyres and Ferrari responded by bringing in Vettel for the same compound a lap later. Mercedes then brought in their drivers for medium compound Pirellis.
Bottas dropped to third in that round of stops but he soon closed in on Leclerc and despite a brave defence by the Ferrari driver, the Finn was able to get past to reclaim P2.
Vettel now also began to close on Leclerc and armed with fresher tyres there was little fuss in getting by as Leclerc gave way and swiftly made his own pit stop for mdeiums. The Monegasque’s pit stop allowed Max to power past and reclaim fourth place, with Leclerc eventually rejoining almost 15 seconds behind the Red Bull.
The order at the top remained unchanged in the final laps, with Hamilton cruising to a 75thcareer win ahead of Bottas, Vettel and Verstappen.
However, behind fifth-placed Leclerc, Pierre Gasly in the second Red Bull was plotting a late charge.
Vettel had held the race fastest lap, a 1:34.836s, since lap 37, but holding a an almost 30s advantage over Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, Gasly took a free pit stop on lap 53 for soft tyres. He duly claimed fastest lap with a time of 1:34.742 to take another point to add the eight earned for sixth place ahead of Ricciardo, Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen and Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon, who delivered an excellent drive to claim a point for 10thplace after starting from the pit lane.
2019 Formula 1Chinese Grand Prix – Race
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 –
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 6.552
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 56 13.744
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 56 27.627
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 56 31.276
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 56 1’29.307
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 55 1 lap
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point 55 1 lap
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 55 1 lap
10 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 55 1 lap
11 Romain Grosjean Haas 55 1 lap
12 Lance Stroll Racing Point 55 1 lap
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 55 1 lap
14 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 55 1 lap
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 55 1 lap
16 George Russell Williams 54 2 laps
17 Robert Kubica Williams 54 2 laps
18 Lando Norris McLaren 50
Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 41
Nico Hulkenberg Renault 16