Redemption for Brit: Lightning start key to Hamilton win in F1's 1,000th race

Sports | 15 Apr 2019

Lewis Hamilton says that he "redeemed" himself with a lightning start to win the 1,000th Formula 1 grand prix in a blustery Shanghai.

Hamilton started from second on the grid but grabbed the lead from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on the first corner and romped to a victory which gives him the world championship lead.

The Briton finished more than 6.5 seconds ahead of Bottas in the third Mercedes one-two in as many races this season, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel third. Max Verstappen of Red Bull was fourth and Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari was fifth.

Hamilton, for whom this was a sixth Chinese Grand Prix win and 75th overall, said that it was "a little bit of a struggle this weekend for me".

The five-time world champion wrestled with his car in qualifying but said that "a shift in driving style enabled me to unlock a bit more the potential of the car".

"The start was obviously great, which was really the decisive moment of the race. After that it was fairly straightforward."

The 34-year-old, who now leads Bottas by six points in the standings, said that he has had problems with his starts down the years. "The first few races have been very difficult for me off the line so it's nice to finally redeem myself and rectify that," he added.

Bottas was always playing catch-up after laboring out of the blocks. "I lost it on the start, honestly, shame about the start, I got some wheel spin on the start line," he said.

Leclerc, 21, pulled off the same trick at the expense of teammate Vettel, darting into third, but the German ultimately prevailed in the battle of the Ferraris.

Mercedes "were too quick right from the start", said Vettel, who climbed atop the podium for the first time in 2019.

On lap 11, four-time world champion Vettel leapfrogged back in front of Monaco's Leclerc into third following radio orders from Ferrari telling the youngster to let him pass. "We do our job, stay focused," Leclerc was informed on team radio after he briefly protested.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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