WHAT HAPPENED IN SHANGHAI
After holding on to win what he called a "racer's race" a fortnight ago in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton revelled in having the track to himself as he cruised to a hat-trick of victories in the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hamilton, who claimed his 25th career win to draw level with British great Jim Clark and his Mercedes team boss Niki Lauda, led every single lap of the shortened 54-lap race, at times pulling away from his rivals by over a second a lap.
"I'm so, so happy. I had such a great race, I really enjoyed it, particularly the last few laps," Hamilton said.
"(I was) Really trying to keep temperature in the tyres, pushing a little bit more, just to keep temperature up and the car was great."
Delighting in the formidable speed of his Mercedes, Hamilton, who crossed the line 18 seconds ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg, only lifted off briefly when the chequered flag was accidentally waved one lap early.
"It's incredible. I honestly can't believe how amazing the car is and how hard everyone has worked," he said.
"I was just really racing myself."
It was the 2008 world champion's first hat-trick of wins and moved him to within four points of team mate and title rival Rosberg in the championship standings.
It was Mercedes' third straight one-two finish and Hamilton was quick to pay tribute to the team he joined last year after six seasons at McLaren, who groomed him to compete in Formula One and gave him his first break.
"Well, this team is on a roll that's for sure," Hamilton said.
"The team have done a great job. We're going to keep pushing, we're going to keep moving forwards.
"The car was really good. I couldn't really have asked for more."
Having initially thought we’d escaped the tedium of a Sebastian Vettel-dominated Formula 1 season, the monotony remains following yet another Lewis Hamilton victory and a Mercedes one-two. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing – particularly if you’re British or are just a fan of the German manufacturer. Having dominated in the free practice sessions and then again in qualifying, it was inconceivable to think that, barring a mechanical fault or car pile-up, anything other than a Hamilton win was possible. And that proved to be just the case. We wonder what will happen in Barcelona…
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
The Barcelona Grand Prix, and, more than likely, another Mercedes victory – whether that be in the form of Lewis Hamilton or his teammate Nico Rosberg, who currently leads the F1 Championship by four points. The new rules brought about for the 2014 Formula One season have benefited Mercedes, but there are visible signs that teams around them are improving race-by-race. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso claimed his first podium of the season, while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel finished fourth and fifth respectively – and the three will surely push the Mercedes pair during the remaining 15 races.
WHAT THE MEDIA SAY
Daniel Johnson (Daily Telegraph): Lewis Hamilton has discovered his happy place. And on the basis of his dominant drive to victory in Shanghai, if he can keep himself in that sweet spot all year then the rest of the field will struggle to keep up. Three victories in a row for the first time in his Formula One career and a 100 per cent record barring a mechanical failure in Melbourne. If his status as championship favourite needed any further endorsement, it got it in spades on Sunday.
Kevin Eason (The Times): A cruise in the park – it was no more than that for Lewis Hamilton as he drove to a hat-trick of grand prix victories in Shanghai. The huge crowd – whose cheers could be heard above the burble of the new hybrid engine cars – could have been applauding a young man driving to the shops, so relaxed was Hamilton for 55 laps of this enormous track. So relaxed that he was not sure whether his job was finished or not, slowing for the chequered flag which was being waved a lap early.
WHAT THE FANS SAY
Garth (Eurosport Yahoo! user): Congrats to Lewis who is making the most of Mercedes dominance at the moment and stamping his authority over Nico - he knows that these things are not guaranteed to last forever as Vettel seems to be finding out now. Well done Ricciardo.
Maver1ckreturns (Eurosport mobile app user): This season once again proves it’s all about who has the best F1 car. As it stands Mercedes have overtaken Red Bull as the most reliable car. Good to see another front runner! When will Ferrari return?!
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