Lewis Hamilton wins Formula One's 1,000th race

The Italian team were supposed to have the edge this season over perennial constructors' champions Mercedes, but Mercedes have been first and second in all three races.

He was later given the all-clear but will miss qualifying because his ruined auto will not be fixed in time, Toro Rosso said.

"Sorry guys", he said over the team radio.

Lewis Hamilton won the 1,000th Formula One grand prix today after grabbing the lead from Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the first corner and powering to victory in blustery Shanghai.

Alex Albon started from the pits after a crash in FP3 meant he had to sit out qualifying. "In the dirty air I couldn't follow", he told Sky Sports after the GP.

"The vehicle has been really good this weekend and Lewis improved a lot". "I had no idea that we'd have three 1-2s so early on in the season". He tried to regain control, but the auto spun around as Albon plowed the front left side into a wall near the pit lane, with parts of the vehicle scattered across the track.

They have now scored a hat-trick of one-two finishes as Valtteri Bottas finished second behind the five-times world champion, who claimed his 75th Formula One win in the 1,000th championship race.

Bottas lined up from pole position and made a decent getaway but suffered wheelspin thereafter and relinquished the advantage to Hamilton before the pack reached Turn 1.

Binotto explained that Leclerc was moved aside for Vettel early on because Mercedes was edging away and Ferrari was at risk of one of its drivers falling behind Verstappen anyway if the Red Bull pitted earlier, which it did.

Seventh and eighth were the Renault duo of Daniel Ricciardo - last year's victor in China - and Nico Hulkenberg. It was Hamilton's sixth victory on the Shanghai circuit. Leclerc would have won comfortably but had an engine failure late in the race.

It took him four races before he stood on top of the podium in 2018 but he already has two wins under his belt and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Talented 21-year-old Leclerc meanwhile pulled off the same trick at the start at the expense of his team-mate Vettel, darting into third. "Lewis was struggling with the grip before the session and was a few tenths behind this morning, but he did a very good job recovering in the session that mattered". "We'd have loved to be a bit faster", Vettel said. By Lap 27, Bottas had a number of fast laps to his name that concerned Hamilton who wanted to pick up that extra point.

Hamilton, a record five-time victor in China who struggled to get the auto to his liking during Friday's running, was fourth 0.859 seconds off his team mate's pace.

Vettel, Bottas and then Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon, who missed qualifying after a nasty crash in final practice, all exchanged fastest laps. "We have no idea how the next race is going to turn out".

  • Steve Townsend