Lewis Hamilton made it three straight wins for the first time in his F1 career after a dominant performance at the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Briton led every lap as he won by 17 seconds over team-mate Nico Rosberg with Fernando Alonso holding off Daniel Ricciardo to take third.
Always one of the trickier starts on the calendar, it was Hamilton who comfortably led away from pole as Felipe Massa made a storming getaway only to be blocked off by Ricciardo into turn one.
The Williams made contact with Alonso’s Ferrari as Massa looked to find a way round the Red Bull though everyone continued.
Nico Rosberg, who suffered the whole race with telemetry issues, made a poor start which wasn’t helped with contact with the second Williams of Valtteri Bottas through the first turn and saw the Mercedes driver drop several positions.
At the end of the first lap Hamilton had pulled out a 1.5 second gap over Sebastian Vettel, who had moved ahead of Ricciardo, with Alonso third and the Australian in fourth.
After the fireworks of Bahrain, this race proved slightly anti-climatic as the high tyre-wear predicted on the ‘green’ track made attacking the driver in front quite tricky.
Indeed the positions didn’t change much at all before the first round of stops as Alonso was able to undercut Vettel and move into second place while Ricciardo went a little longer on his first stint and fell behind the recovering Rosberg.
After a brief attempt at re-passing Alonso, Vettel dropped back and was quickly caught by Rosberg – who made a move on the four-time champion at the hairpin, moving him upto fourth.
That battle also allowed Ricciardo to catch his team-mate and despite initially ignoring an instruction to allow the clearly two-stopping Australian by, Vettel did yield to his team-mate into turn one.
As the race developed and the wear of the soft tyre in the early stint made a three-stop strategy less viable, Vettel’s race was further ruined by having to run longer than expected to convert his strategy and the German’s bad day only got worse as he fell behind his team-mate and ran a lonely fifth.
Kevin Magnussen was another man looking to run a conventional two-stop race and his slow McLaren caused a brief period of overtaking as those on fresher tyres moved back ahead, that was the Woking team’s only moment towards the front, however, as both Jenson Button and Magnussen failed to score points.
Romain Grosjean was maintaining his top ten position from qualifying through the race before a problem with fourth gear forced the Frenchman out, though Pastor Maldonado did achieve his first race finish of the year, after starting last, ending in 14th.
Hamilton remained untroubled out front pulling away and, as with Vettel, the need to convert from a three-stop race to a two did cause quite a lull in the action.
After the final stop, however, it was Rosberg who made the move on Alonso as the Mercedes eased to their third straight one-two finish in a row.
His more conventional two-stop race meant Ricciardo was also catching Alonso for the final podium place but traffic and pace in reserve meant a real challenge never materialised.
With the top five set, Nico Hulkenberg once again proved his talents in sixth for Force India just holding off Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen took some points home after another poor weekend for Ferrari, Sergio Perez also recovered from a bad qualifying to take ninth with Daniil Kvyat scoring his third points finish of his short career in tenth.
The day belonged to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, however, as their dominance continued in Shanghai, despite three straight wins, Rosberg still leads the championship by four points ahead of the 2008 champion entering the European season.
Red Bull jumped up to second in the Constructor’s standings overhauling Force India but no-one can match the rampant Silver Arrows.
The sport now enters a three-week break ahead of the first race in Europe at Spain’s Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
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