Chinese Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton wins in Shanghai as Sebastian Vettel finishes on podium through team orders


Chinese Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton wins in Shanghai as Sebastian Vettel finishes on podium through team orders

Lewis Hamilton delivered a crushing performance to win Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix as Ferrari used team orders to help Sebastian Vettel finish on the podium.

Valtteri Bottas followed team-mate Hamilton home for Mercedes to secure their third one-two finish in as many grands prix.

Hamilton celebrated his victory in Shanghai

But Hamilton’s superb lights-to-flag victory was overshadowed by the intra-team politics which threatens to destabilise Ferrari’s season.

Hamilton roared off the start line in Shanghai to dash past pole-sitter Bottas to the opening bend.

From there, he ruled the race to secure his second win in succession and assume the championship lead for the first time this season. He is six points clear of Bottas.

Vettel crossed the line third, with Max Verstappen fourth for Red Bull, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc fifth.

Vettel got onto the podium with help from team orders

The young Ferrari driver will have every right to feel frustrated.

Heading into Formula One’s 1,000th race, the question was whether Vettel would remain as Ferrari’s number one following Leclerc’s strong display last time out in Bahrain.

On lap 11, Ferrari delivered their answer.

Leclerc had got ahead of Vettel at the first turn, but with Vettel less than a second behind the young Monegasque, and claiming he would be able to match leader Hamilton’s times, Ferrari instructed Leclerc to move out of his team-mate’s way.

Unlike in previous regimes at Ferrari, Leclerc made his feelings clear. “But I’m pulling away [from Vettel],” he protested, before reluctantly moving aside.

Vettel had clear air to catch the Mercedes duo, but failed to make any impression on the leaders.