Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

Hamilton expects year-long brawl with Ferrari

Hamilton expects year-long brawl with Ferrari

The race started on a damp circuit in Shanghai, with Hamilton on the pole and Vettel by his side.

Lewis Hamilton wants to see Red Bull join the title fight after moving level on points with Sebastian Vettel at the top of the championship with victory in the Chinese Grand Prix.

It was Hamilton's 54th career win, and a record fifth in Shanghai.

"Well managed, guys", Hamilton told his team on the radio on the cool-down lap.

The four-time champion said: "It felt like we were the quickest, man".

Eighteen races remain of the season, and Hamilton and Vettel now lead the championship with 43 points.

The title protagonists have both won one race each this season with the Briton predicting their battle will go down to the wire. Mercedes, meanwhile, takes the lead in the team standings over Ferrari.

When an incident between Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez that ultimately put the Williams driver out of the race, caused a Virtual Safety Car period, drivers began pitting for slicks. The Canadian beached his Williams in the gravel, bringing out the virtual safety auto.

Vettel's gamble to change from the Intermediate tire before the two Mercedes wouldn't pay off, however.

He won by 6.250 seconds after a chaotic start, reaping the rewards of the safety auto going through the pit lane following an early smash from Giovinazzi, who crashed out in qualifying on Saturday and hit the pit wall after losing control of his vehicle.

Verstappen, who overtook nine cars on the first lap, immediately dispatched team mate Ricciardo to move up to second.

Vettel was up to the challenge of working his way back up the field, however, eventually passing Verstappen on lap 28, before unsuccessfully attempting to wrangle the lead from Hamilton. Perhaps in the future there will be times where we don't have the Safety Car and there won't be that six-second gap, they'll [Ferrari] be right on the tail, either way.

Fifteen cars finished Sunday's 56-lap race, with neither McLaren making it to the flag.

The Finn has failed to finish on the podium in both races this season despite Ferrari clearly having a vehicle to match Mercedes at the front of the grid.

The extension of Chinese goodwill towards America via sport paved the way for then-president Richard Nixon to become the first USA leader to visit the Republic in 1972, an historic moment in Chinese-American relations.

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