Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in 1,000th F1 race

Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in 1,000th F1 race

14/04/2019

Lewis Hamilton won the 1,000th race in Formula 1 history as he led a Mercedes one-two in China to take the championship lead from Valtteri Bottas.

The championship leader before the race, Valtteri Bottas, was quickly passed by Hamilton just after the lights, and the two Mercedes raced into a healthy lead in the first 10 laps.

That lead forced Ferrari to order youngster Charles Leclerc to move aside for Sebastian Vettel, who had insisted to his side that his was the faster car, with the Frenchman ultimately relenting - a move that caused Leclerc to radio his unhappiness back to his team.

Hamilton became just the second man to race 4,000 laps in pole, an achievement first completed by Michael Schumacher.

Max Verstappen moved into fifth as the Ferraris struggled with one another, with the 21-year-old almost passing Vettel in the same manner as last year??ôs crash at turn 1, before being forced back.

There was disquiet midway through the race when Bottas, allowed to pit first, undercut his rival, but Hamilton was reminded that he possessed younger tires for the end of the race, but it raised the spectre of more team orders to come.

With 15 laps remaining, Verstappen started to press both Leclerc and Vettel as a stranded Leclerc looked in need of a new set of tires. On lap 43, Vettel used DRS to go past his teammate, allowing Ferrari to give the Frenchman a fresh batch of mediums, setting him up for a race against Verstappen for fourth. The Dutchman emerged victorious, with Vettel taking third.

The 25 points move Hamilton back into the lead after three races completed, on 68 points, but the sign of the threat the reigning champion feels was betrayed by his demand to know who had the fastest lap of the race. He was clearly not interested in giving up even a point up to his rivals. Teammate Bottas claimed second.

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