F1 Chinese GP: Hamilton leads Rosberg in comfortable Mercedes 1-2

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes reasserted their authority over Formula 1 with a commanding Chinese Grand Prix victory

F1 Chinese GP: Hamilton leads Rosberg in comfortable Mercedes 1-2

Nico Rosberg had to settle for second place, ahead of the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, in a race that was close at times without ever truly coming to life.

Hamilton had made his intentions clear by angling his car very aggressively towards Rosberg's on the grid.

He duly held his lead off the line, with Rosberg and Vettel stringing out behind the champion through the first stint.

The situation became more tense in the middle stint of the two-stop race, as both Rosberg and Vettel closed on Hamilton.

A frustrated Rosberg radioed Mercedes asking if Hamilton could speed up, as his tyres were wearing too much whenever he got closer than two seconds away from his team-mate's rear wing.

When Ferrari brought Vettel in for his second stop ahead of the two Mercedes, Rosberg was pitted a lap later in an effort to prevent his countryman getting an undercut on his new tyres.

But rather than his rivals' earlier stops putting Hamilton at a disadvantage, he was able to raise his pace considerably on his final laps on soft tyres.

Hamilton ran two laps longer than Rosberg and rejoined with a 6s cushion rather than the 2s advantage he had held prior to the stops.

Rosberg reduced Hamilton's lead slightly before settling for second.

A safety car appearance with two laps to go - caused by Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso parking on the pit straight in a cloud of smoke - made things even more comfortable for Hamilton, as the race finished under yellow.

Vettel was not a match for the Mercedes once all were onto medium tyres and fell away in third.

The Malaysian GP winner then came under late pressure from team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Finn quickly cleared both Williams on the opening lap to make up for his qualifying frustration, and though he could not keep pace with the top three at first, he ran long in his middle stint and made up ground.

Raikkonen was still 1.4s behind Vettel when the late safety car came out and had to be content with fourth.

Williams ran a lonely and distant fifth and sixth with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, a minute behind the leaders prior to the field being bunched up.

Lotus scored its first points of the year with Romain Grosjean in seventh, but it was a wild race for his team-mate Pastor Maldonado.

The Venezuelan got ahead of Grosjean in the first pitstop sequence, before going down the pitlane entry escape road at his second stop.

A spin while trying to recover left him even further behind, and he then became embroiled in a spectacular battle with the McLarens of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

After several fraught laps, this came to a head when Button hit the back of the Lotus at Turn 1, ending Maldonado's race and prompting a stewards' investigation.

Despite that, McLaren still got its first double finish of 2015 with Alonso and Button's battered cars 12th and 13th.

NEWS UPDATE: Button punished for Maldonado collision

Until his late engine failure, Verstappen was on course for eighth, having sliced through the field with some very accomplished overtaking.

But his problem completed a terrible day for Renault and the Red Bull-owned teams.

Daniel Ricciardo had tumbled to 17th with a terrible start and made heavy weather of coming back through the field to ninth between the Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, which scored again.

Daniil Kvyat was also out early with a suspected engine failure, while Carlos Sainz Jr spun at Turn 1 in the opening laps and later lost time with a gearbox problem before finishing between the McLarens and Manors in 14th.

Force India spent a while in the points as a unique three-stop strategy for Sergio Perez shook out, but in the end 11th was his limit.

A gearbox failure ended team-mate Nico Hulkenberg's race.

RESULTS - 56 LAPS:

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h39m42.008s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 0.714s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 2.988s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 3.835s
5 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 8.544s
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 9.885s
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 19.008s
8 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 22.625s
9 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 32.117s
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1 Lap
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1 Lap
14 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1 Lap
15 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 2 Laps
16 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 2 Laps
17 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault Engine
- Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes Collision
- Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault Engine
- Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes Retirement

DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 68
2 Sebastian Vettel 55
3 Nico Rosberg 51
4 Felipe Massa 30
5 Kimi Raikkonen 24
6 Valtteri Bottas 18
7 Felipe Nasr 14
8 Daniel Ricciardo 11
9 Romain Grosjean 6
10 Nico Hulkenberg 6
11 Max Verstappen 6
12 Carlos Sainz Jr. 6
13 Marcus Ericsson 5
14 Daniil Kvyat 2
15 Sergio Perez 1
16 Jenson Button 0
17 Fernando Alonso 0
18 Roberto Merhi 0
19 Will Stevens 0

CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 119
2 Ferrari 79
3 Williams/Mercedes 48
4 Sauber/Ferrari 19
5 Red Bull/Renault 13
6 Toro Rosso/Renault 12
7 Force India/Mercedes 7
8 Lotus/Mercedes 6
9 McLaren/Honda 0
10 Marussia/Ferrari 0


shares
comments
China tech: Mercedes reacts with new wing
Previous article

China tech: Mercedes reacts with new wing

Next article

F1 Chinese GP: Nico Rosberg slams Lewis Hamilton's tactics

F1 Chinese GP: Nico Rosberg slams Lewis Hamilton's tactics
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Plus

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility Plus

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022