Chinese Grand Prix 2017 highlights: Lewis Hamilton dominates while youngster impresses
Lewis Hamilton converted pole position into a controlled race victory in a mixed-conditions Chinese Grand Prix.
The Briton, who started on pole, steered his Mercedes to his fifth Chinese Grand Prix win, beating Vettel's Ferrari by just over six seconds with Red Bull's Max Verstappen finishing third after early safety auto drama.
Dutch teenager Max Verstappen produced another virtuoso display to complete the podium after he rose 13 places from 16th on the grid - including a sensational nine on the opening lap - to cement his status as the rising star of the sport.
"I quite like him up here next to us - makes me look younger", Hamilton said. The incident brought out the safety vehicle with the race restarting in Lap 7.
Hamilton, the British triple world champion, pipped his German rival Vettel by two-tenths of a second in Shanghai qualifying, with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen filling row two for Sunday's race.
"I think this will be one of the closest [battles for the championship] if not the closest I have experienced", remarked Hamilton. Daniel Ricciardo caught him up and hunted him to the line but had to settle for fourth.
When the cars got back to full speed, the safety auto was soon deployed to clear Antonio Giovinazzi's crashed Sauber, with the neutralisation allowing Vettel's rivals to make their pit stops and minimise the time loss.
"I am looking forward to this fight, not only with Sebastian, but the other guys as well who are in amongst it. Ferrari have done a fantastic job".
Hamilton started from pole position and led from beginning to end to capture the 54th race title of his career and his first of the new Formula One season.
He had to pit early, got stuck behind Max Verstappen and ultimately it cost him the race.
Bottas finished sixth. The Finn, who has replaced retired champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes, dropped him down the field after spinning behind the safety vehicle.
He continued: "The ultimate fighter always wants to go up against the best battle that you can have because when you come out on top it is so much more satisfying".
Hamilton heaped praise on Vettel, the German four-time world champion, who was unlucky to have pitted just before a safety auto and emerged stuck in traffic. The leading drivers started on the intermediate tyre following rainfall in the lead-up to lights out, but the track dried enough to warrant an early switch to slicks. "But I managed to hold on and it was a good race for the team as well".
"But then I had a very exciting race".
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