SHANGHAI - Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix to seize the overall lead from his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in Formula One’s 1,000th world championship race on Sunday.
Bottas, who had made a poor start from pole and lost out to five times world champion Hamilton into the first corner, was second for his team’s third one-two finish in as many races this season.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took third place, his first podium appearance of the campaign, with Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly denying the German an extra point with the fastest lap right at the end.
The win was the 75th of Hamilton’s career, second in a row after his lucky triumph in Bahrain two weeks ago, and sixth in China.
“To have a one-two together is really special in the 1,000th Grand Prix. The start was where I was able to make the difference, and after that, it’s kind of history,” said the Briton, who also won the 900th in Bahrain in 2014.
He is now just 16 victories short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record tally of 91.
There has yet to be a winner this year from pole position, with Bottas triumphant in the Australian opener in a similar fashion to Hamilton in China.
“I think I lost it in the start. The car was feeling OK and otherwise, the pace was similar,” said the Finn.
“But in the first stint in the dirty air, I couldn’t follow. Shame about the start, I got some wheel spin when I went over the white line, the start-finish line which is immediately after my box, and I lost it there.”
Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc, on pole in Bahrain but denied victory there after a late loss of power while leading, finished fifth behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who briefly went wheel-to-wheel with Vettel for the final podium spot.
Leclerc got ahead of Vettel at the start but was then instructed by Ferrari to let his teammate through, an order the Monegasque complied with while making clear that he did not agree.
“I’m happy to be on the podium,” said Vettel. “But (the race was) tough because we tried to stick with them but just couldn’t.”
Gasly was sixth, ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo — the Australian’s first finish of the season — and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.
Kimi Raikkonen finished ninth for Alfa Romeo and Thailand’s Alexander Albon, who started from the pitlane after missing qualifying due to a heavy crash in final practice, took the final point for Toro Rosso.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat were the three retirements.
The last two and the other McLaren of Carlos Sainz were involved in a three-car tangle on the opening lap that resulted in a brief virtual safety car period.