Lewis Hamilton has recorded a hat-trick of Formula 1 race wins for the first time in his career after an imperious performance in China today.
The Mercedes driver annexed pole position at the Shanghai International Circuit and after seizing an early lead in the race he simply drove away from the pack in the early stages and was never challenged. He added to his victories in Malaysia and Bahrain.
Hamilton's only scare happened when he ran wide near the end of his first stint on worn tyres, although he quickly recovered.
"The left front was graining quite badly and eventually the tyre was completely dead. Fortunately there was quite a lot of run-off area at that corner," said Hamilton after the race.
The 2008 world champion was also slightly confused by the erroneous appearance of the chequered flag one lap ahead of schedule. Nevertheless, he crossed the line for the 25th victory of his Formula 1 career, to add to the 34th pole position he collected on Saturday.
His Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg battled to second position after a difficult race weekend. He qualified fourth, and was hampered during the race due to a problem with his car's telemetry, meaning he was unable to communicate properly with his pit crew.
The German also came into contact with the Williams of Valterri Bottas at the first turn of the race, but he battled hard to overhaul Fernando Alonso's Ferrari and secure his fourth consecutive podium finish of the season.
Rosberg's fight back to second place in the results ensured he maintains a slender lead over teammate Hamilton in the world championship standings, although the gap is now a slender four points.
Alonso brought some cheer to Ferrari with the Italian team's first podium of the season. It was Maranello's first race with new team chief Marco Mattiacci in charge following the departure of Stefano Domenicali.
Despite heavy contact with former teammate Felipe Massa at the first corner, Alonso was a podium threat throughout the race and although he was unable to hold back to charge of Rosberg, he fended off the looming Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages of the race.
Australian racer Ricciardo again outshone Red Bull Racing's team leader Sebastian Vettel, out-qualifing the world champion on Saturday and out-racing him on Sunday despite the German's best efforts to keep his young rival at bay.
Chinese Grand Prix, round 4/19, 20 April 2014