Lewis Hamilton comfortably won Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, finishing the 56-lap race ahead of his Mercedes AMG Petronas team-mate, Nico Rosberg.
The victory was Hamilton’s third from three starts this season as he extended his lead to 13 points over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.
Despite an impressive one-two for the Brackley-based Mercedes team, all was not happy in the camp as Rosberg later claimed that Hamilton has deliberately slowed him during the race to push him back into the clutches of the chasing Vettel.
It was a claim that Hamilton refuted, saying: “I didn’t play any dirty tricks on the track today. I came here to win and I did. It was a great team performance and I am really looking forward to the next race in Bahrain. It would be good to head back to Europe after the fourth race of the year with another win in the bag.”
While Mercedes celebrated their Chinese points haul, both the Bicester-based Toro Rosso and Silverstone’s Sahara Force India suffered ill-fortune.
Max Verstappen was set to score points for Toro Rosso until his car suffered drivetrain failure with only a handful of laps remaining, causing the race to end under Safety Car conditions, while his team-mate Carlos Sainz saw his car develop gearbox issues, which prevented him finishing higher than 13th in his Renault-powered Toro Rosso.
Sergio Perez finished 11th in the only Force India car to reach the finish. His team-mate, Nico Hulkenberg, was an early retirement when his VJM08-Mercedes suffered gearbox issues.
He said: “It was very disappointing. I never really had the chance to get involved in the race. It was an early exit for me.”
Standings: 1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 68; 2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 55; 3. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 51; 4. Felipe Massa (Williams) 30; 5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 24; 6. Valterri Bottas (Williams) 18. Next race: Bahrain, April 19.