It was the 25th victory of his career, which sees him overtake the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio and equal the achievements of Niki Lauda and Jim Clark for eight on the all-time list. It was also his third win in China.
It was a Mercedes one-two as Nico Rosberg recovered from a dreadful start to finish in second place, albeit some 18 seconds behind his team-mate.
Even so, Rosberg is still the leader in the drivers' championship, although only now with a minimal four-point advantage over Hamilton.
"I just can't believe how amazing the car is," said Hamilton, who led from pole and punched the air with both fists after parking up and leaping out. "I was just really racing myself.
"This team is on a roll, that's for sure."
"Being here on the podium is some kind of surprise for us, it's a nice surprise finally," the double world champion said.
"(I'm) happy with the podium finish today, third in the drivers' championship behind these two guys.
"So we didn't have the start of the season that we like but at the end of the day we are still in the fight."
Australian Ricciardo had been pestering his team-mate Sebastian Vettel from the off, resulting in team orders to let Ricciardo past. Vettel expressed his displeasure at that order in no uncertain terms, asking: "What tyres is he on?"
And when told that Ricciardo was on the same tyres as him, the 26-year-old responded by saying "tough luck."
But in the end he could do nothing to keep him behind.
Jenson Button came in 11th; and Felipe Massa, 15th in his Williams, will count himself the unluckiest man of the day. A terrible pit stop sent him to the back of the field after he had a storming start to move up into sixth.
All-time Formula One wins list
1. Michael Schumacher 91
2. Alain Prost 51
3. Ayrton Senna 41
4. Sebastian Vettel 39
5. Fernando Alonso 32
6. Nigel Mansell 31
7. Jackie Stewart 27
T8. Jim Clark 25
T8. Niki Lauda 25
T8. Lewis Hamilton 25
11. Juan Manuel Fangio 24
Result from the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:36:52.810
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes +00:18.686
3. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 00:25.765
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull - Renault 00:26.978
5. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 00:51.012
6. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 00:57.581
7. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 00:58.145
8. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 01:23.990
9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 01:26.489
10. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault 1 lap
11. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1 lap
12. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Renault 1 lap
13. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1 lap
14. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - Renault 1 lap
15. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
16. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1 lap
17. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham - Renault 1 lap
18. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - Ferrari 1 lap
19. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Ferrari 2 laps
20. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Caterham - Renault 2 laps
r. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 28 laps
r. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 51 laps
1. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 79
2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 75
3. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 41
4. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 36
5. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 33
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 24
7. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 24
8. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 23
9. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 20
10. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 18
11. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 12
12. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 11
13. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 4
14. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso 4
15. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 0
16. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber 0
17. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 0
18. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia 0
19. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham 0
20. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus 0
21. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Caterham 0
22. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia 0
1. Mercedes 154
2. RedBull - Renault 57
3. Force India - Mercedes 54
4. Ferrari 52
5. McLaren 43
6. Williams-Mercedes 36
7. Toro Rosso - Renault 8
8. Lotus - Renault 0
9. Sauber - Ferrari 0
10. Marussia - Ferrari 0
11. Caterham - Renault 0
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- Nico Rosberg
- Daniel Ricciardo
- Sebastian Vettel
- Fernando Alonso
- Lewis Hamilton
- Juan Manuel Fangio