Hamilton dominates for third successive win
20 April 2014 – Lewis Hamilton delivered a crushing performance during Sunday afternoon's Chinese Grand Prix to claim three successive race victories for the first time in his Formula 1 career. The Mercedes driver led home slow-starting team-mate Nico Rosberg, while a revitalised Fernando Alonso completed the podium for Ferrari.
As the lights went out, Hamilton made a perfect getaway to maintain his advantage, while Sebastian Vettel and Alonso escaped unscathed after a tangle with Williams rival Felipe Massa to slot behind the Briton.
Rosberg, without telemetry, was not so fortunate in the second Silver Arrows machine, enduring a sluggish start from the second row before clipping Valtteri Bottas at the first corner and dropping to seventh.
As the opening stint settled down, with all drivers bar McLaren's Kevin Magnussen starting on the Soft tyres, Hamilton pulled away at a vast rate of knots to give himself a comfortable margin over the rest of the field.
With the majority of drivers adopting a standard two-stop race strategy including a pair of sizeable stints on the Medium rubber, Hamilton's lead never came under threat. And perhaps ominously for his rivals, he used less fuel throughout the 56-lap encounter, suggesting that there is even more pace to come at future events.
Rosberg's race was one of damage limitation and the German, who had to relay data from his dashboard all afternoon, did well to recover to second position, pulling a clean move on Alonso with 13 laps remaining.
As well as Hamilton's personal victory record, it was also Mercedes's third one-two finish in a row.
Alonso held on to secure his and Ferrari's first podium finish of 2014, marking a fine start to Marco Mattiacci's tenure as team boss. The Spaniard lived up to his pre-race prediction that he would be able to take the fight to Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Vettel, with the latter pair struggling for straight line speed.
Nico Hülkenberg gave Force India something to smile about after a more challenging weekend for the team, just ahead of Valtteri Bottas – who bounced back from his first lap clash with Rosberg – and Kimi Räikkönen.
Sergio Pérez took two points after his podium finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix, while Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat impressed to outpace team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne and collect his third top ten result in four races.
Both McLaren duo failed to score points despite reaching the chequered flag, while Massa struggled to 15th after his collision was followed by a painfully slow pit-stop, which saw him stationary for the best part of a minute.
The race saw just two retirements; Sauber driver Adrian Sutil returned his car to the garage after power unit trouble in the early stages, with Romain Grosjean doing the same when his Lotus hit gearbox problems.
In terms of the Drivers' and Constructors' standings, Hamilton moves to within four points of Rosberg, while the Mercedes team increases its advantage to a staggering 97 points, with Red Bull now its nearest rival.
The fifth round of the 2014 Formula 1 season takes place in Spain from May 9-11