China had been a very happy hunting ground for Lewis Hamilton in the past – and it was again on Sunday…
Lewis Hamilton’s win was his fifth in China from 11 attempts. Mercedes meanwhile have now won five of the last six races in Shanghai, including four in a row.
Hamilton becomes just the second driver in history, after Michael Schumacher, to have five wins on three or more circuits (his other best tracks being Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Budapest’s Hungaroring).
Along with taking career victory number 54, Hamilton also took his 32nd fastest lap and led every lap. When combined with his 63rd pole position from Saturday, that gave the Mercedes driver his third career Grand Slam (pole, fastest lap, win, led every lap), moving him level with Nelson Piquet for eighth on that particular all-time list. The only current driver with more Grand Slams is, you guessed it, Sebastian Vettel with four. The late great Jim Clark is the record holder with eight.
With his 106th podium, Hamilton also moves level with Alain Prost for 2nd on the all-time rostrum list. With 155, Michael Schumacher is still a way off in front...
Speaking of Vettel, who scored his fifth China podium, Hamilton is now level pegging with the German at the top of the drivers’ standings – the first time two drivers have been tied since 2012 when Vettel and Fernando Alonso were locked together on 61 points following the Spanish Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen had an extraordinary race from 16th on the grid to third, ensuring a Mercedes-Ferrari-Red Bull top three for the second year in a row (in fact, the order of teams in the top five was the same as 2016, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing fourth again for Red Bull and Kimi Raikkonen scoring another fifth for Ferrari).
Verstappen’s podium was his eighth in F1, but the first he’s scored when starting outside the top ten. Only six other current drivers have made the rostrum from lower than P10 on the grid, but the only other driver to score a podium in Shanghai after being knocked out in Q1? Mark Webber, who was third for Red Bull in 2011.
And on the topic of Red Bull, it was the 100th race where they’ve had one or more of their drivers on the podium, and their 136th rostrum in total.
Carlos Sainz kept up Toro Rosso’s strong start to the season as he scored points for the second race in succession (and the fourth time in six races going back to last season). Seventh equals his second-best finish in F1.
With eighth, Kevin Magnussen achieved his best finish since last year’s race in Russia as he picked up his first points for new team Haas.
With Sergio Perez ninth and Esteban Ocon tenth (for the second race in a row), Force India are the only team other than Mercedes and Ferrari to get both cars home in the points in the opening two rounds of the season.
Perez has now scored points in 12 successive races - the longest current streak on the grid. Kimi Raikkonen's 27-race points streak is still a long way off however...
Renault, Sauber and McLaren are all still awaiting their first points finishes of the season. The latter of that trio recorded their first double DNF since Singapore 2015, and just their fifth since reuniting with Honda in 2015.
But the final word must go to the unlucky Lance Stroll, who retired his Williams on lap one after contact with Perez. The Canadian rookie has completed just 40 racing laps so far this season from a possible 113 – the fewest of any driver on the grid. Will he fare better in Bahrain next weekend?