Mercedes Lewis Hamilton wins the Chinese GP and takes the lead in the Championship as the Brit won F1’s 1000th GP ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
1.Bottas 2.Hamilton 3.Vettel 4.Leclerc 5.Verstappen 6.Gasly 7.Ricciardo 8.Hulkenberg 9.Magnussen 10.Grosjean 11.Kvyat 12.Perez 13.Raikkonen 14.Sainz Jr 15.Norris 16.Stroll 17.Russell 18.Kubica 19.Giovinazzi
Albon will start from the pit-lane
Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Antonio Giovinazzi and Alexander Albon will start on the Soft tyre. Everyone else will start on the Medium tyre.
There’ll be a range of different strategies at play today with the drivers on the Soft tyre likely to aim to try and do a 1 stop. As the formation lap gets underway, Max Verstappen and Robert Kubica spin whilst trying to get some heat into their Medium tyres! They manage to spin back round and get back into position. 4 of the last 5 pole-sitters have gone onto win this race, so it’s a good omen for Australian GP Valterri Bottas.
The lights go out for F1’s 1000th GP and it’s a great start by Lewis Hamilton to jump Valterri Bottas heading into turn 1. Charles Leclerc sneaks up the inside of Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel for 3rd place. Down towards turn 6, Sergio Perez goes round the outside of both Haas drivers of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg for 8th place. Behind, there’s contact between the McLaren’s and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.
Both McLaren’s of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr have damage but it seems that Daniil Kvyat has little to no damage. A replay of the incident shows that Kvyat momentarily lost the rear of his car exiting turn 6 which sent the Russian into the path of Sainz. On the outside of the corner, Norris rejoins the track after running wide and it’s a pincer movement. Kvyat makes contact with Sainz and then makes contact with Norris – forces the Brit to take some air time with his McLaren at an angle in the air. Sainz’s has lost a part of his front wing while both trundle back to the pits.The Virtual Safety Car is deployed for the marshals to recover some debris.
The VSC ends on lap 2 with Lewis Hamilton leading the way ahead of Valterri Bottas and Charles Leclerc. By lap 3, Hamilton has built a lead of 1.3 seconds back to Bottas who is 2.1 seconds ahead of Leclerc. Kimi Raikkonen overtakes Kevin Magnussen for 11th place just before turn 14. McLaren tell Lando Norris that he has floor damage to his car after the lap 1 incident. Both McLaren’s had to pit at the same time which lost Norris more time – both run 19th and 20th, a minute and a minute and eleven seconds behind the race lead.
On lap 5, Alexander Albon overtakes Antonio Giovinazzi for 15th place down into turn 14. Onto lap 6, Lewis Hamilton’s lead has increased to 2 seconds as the stewards award Daniil Kvyat with a drive through penalty for the incident on lap 1. The Ferrari’s in 3rd and 4th are nip and tuck, will there be team orders as 4th placed Sebastian Vettel looks quicker at this stage in the race? On lap 8, Kvyat takes his drive through penalty and rejoins in 17th. On lap 9, Romain Grosjean pits, goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 17th as Ferrari tell Vettel to “push now”. On lap 10, Kevin Magnussen pits, goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 17th with team-mate Grosjean ahead as Ferrari tell Leclerc “you need to go faster otherwise we’ll let Sebastian past”.
Onto lap 11, Ferrari tell Charles Leclerc on the pit-straight to let team-mate Sebastian Vettel past. Leclerc slows and allows Vettel past although Leclerc protests by saying “I am pulling away”. Kimi Raikkonen now overtakes Nico Hulkenberg for 9th place into turn 14 as Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead to 3 seconds. Onto lap 12, Nico Hulkenberg pits, goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 16th just behind Romain Grosjean. Leclerc is not a happy man, Vettel isn’t pulling away as much and is making a few mistakes here and there, Leclerc thinks his race is being compromised.
At the end of lap 15, Lewis Hamilton became the 2nd driver in history to pass 4,000 laps led only second to Michael Schumacher on 5,111 laps. Onto lap 16, Hamilton lead is now 4.5 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas. On lap 17, Renault decide to retire Nico Hulkenberg from the race and he becomes the first retirement of the race. On lap 18, Max Verstappen pits from 5th. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 8th. Will Ferrari respond and with what driver?
Onto lap 19, Sebastian Vettel pits from 3rd. The German goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 5th just ahead of Max Verstappen. It doesn’t look good for Charles Leclerc, it certain that the Ferrari driver will be behind Verstappen. Verstappen is very close to Vettel and lunges down the inside of turn 14. Vettel realises this and cuts back on the exit as the pair go side-by-side. Verstappen momentarily takes to the grass as Vettel manages to get ahead. Great racing between the two drivers who clashed here last year!
Lap 20, Pierre Gasly pits and rejoins in 8th. Ferrari tell Charles Leclerc to “keep pushing as we are going a bit longer”. The Racing Point drivers of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll pit. Perez rejoins in 9th with Stroll in 16th. Lap 21, Valterri Bottas pits from 2nd and rejoins on the Hard tyre in 3rd. Lap 22, Lewis Hamilton pits from the lead, rejoins on the Hard tyre and rejoins in the lead as Leclerc pits. Leclerc goes onto the and rejoins in 5th albeit 11 seconds behind Max Verstappen. Lap 24, Hamilton asks Mercedes “why did you stop Valterri first?” Mercedes reply by saying that it was down to tyre life. The gap between the Silver Arrows is only 1.5 seconds.
Alexander Albon and Lance Stroll overtake the struggling Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi. Lap 29, Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead to 3.1 seconds as Kimi Raikkonen overtakes Romain Grosjean for 9th place out of turn 15. Lap 30, Charles Leclerc is now just 6.4 seconds behind Max Verstappen in 4th and 5th place. Lap 35, Verstappen pits from 4th and goes onto the Medium tyre. He rejoins in 5th just ahead of team-mate Pierre Gasly. Lap 36, Sebastian Vettel pits from 3rd and rejoins on the Medium tyre in 4th.
Reacting to everyone else, Mercedes decide to pit Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas in succession. There’s enough of a gap between them so Bottas doesn’t get held up. It’s an amazing feat achieved by the team which can easily be mucked up. Both go onto the Medium tyre and rejoin in 1st and 3rd. Very well executed and perfection! Charles Leclerc has yet to pit for a second time that’s why he’s currently in 2nd. Lap 38, Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:34:836.
Valterri Bottas tries to overtake Charles Leclerc for 2nd but Leclerc is able to stay ahead until lap 39 when the Finn overtakes him into turn 14. On lap 42, Sebastian Vettel overtakes Leclerc for 4th place just before turn 14 as Leclerc pits at the end of the lap. He goes onto the Medium tyre and rejoins in 5th. His aim now is to try and catch 4th place Max Verstappen. Lap 43, Toro Rosso decide to retire Daniil Kvyat from the race.
Lap 51, Lewis Hamilton’s lead has grown to 6.3 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas. Charles Leclerc in 5th is 9.3 seconds behind Max Verstappen in 4th. Daniel Ricciardo is holding onto 7th just ahead of Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen. Alexander Albon is in 10th and fending off Romain Grosjean. Lap 53, McLaren decide to retire Lando Norris from the race.
Lap 54, Pierre Gasly pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and now will and try and get the fastest lap and the bonus point for doing so. He had enough of a gap to Daniel Ricciardo behind so he’s ensured that 6th place is his. Onto the final lap, Lewis Hamilton still leads ahead of Valterri Bottas. Hamilton crosses the line to win the Chinese GP. Gasly is able to nick the fastest lap off of Sebastian Vettel. Alexander Albon hangs onto 10th place and gets the “Fans Driver of the Day.”
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 56 Laps
- Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +6.552s
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +13.744s
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +27.627s
- Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +31.276s
- Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing Honda, +89.307s
- Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, + 1 Lap
- Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
- Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
- Alexander Albon, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
- Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
- Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
- Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
- Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
- Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
- George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
- Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
- Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, DNF
- Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, DNF
- Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, DNF