Verstappen passes 9 cars in one lap in masterful China race

Lewis Hamilton said he was looking forward to more battles in the rest of the Formula One 2017 season with Sebastian Vettel while denying any kind of "bromance" between the two champion drivers after winning the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.

On a damp but drying track, the safety auto played its part early on.

The Briton eased his Mercedes across the line 6.2 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, with Max Verstappen, who started 16th, finishing a surprise third for Red Bull.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton grabbed his 5th China Grand Prix trophy with a dominating performance here at the Shanghai Audi International Circuit on Sunday.

With both teams showing equal pace at the top, there will likely be plenty of other opportunities for close races this season.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

The goal was to increase the competition at the front of the grid - and two races into the season, the changes have certainly had an impact.

That left Vettel in a strong position to take the lead when Hamilton did pit, but he was saved by Giovinazzi stacking his vehicle leading to a safety auto, which allowed Hamilton to pit for his tyres - and win the race.

"I love this fight that we're having".

Even though Red Bull is still off the pace of the Mercedes and Ferrari cars, Verstappen believes his team could contend for victories again soon.

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. "If we can be close, that's good". "I am fighting a four-time world champion who is at his best and is phenomenally quick".

His third place duplicated his result in Brazil a year ago when he recovered from 16th to reach the podium in heavy rain, prompting team Red Bull chief Christian Horner to call it "one of the best drives I've seen in Formula One". Ferrari called the German in to change to slicks during the initial virtual safety vehicle period but any advantage that he could have gained from an early pit stop was instantly wiped out by the full safety auto period just a few laps later. "Nine cars is quite a lot in one lap, but of course very happy that it worked".

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.

Kevin Magnussen took first points for his new team Haas at P8, while the Sahara Force India duo Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finished ninth and tenth respectively, taking crucial points for the Indian team. Stroll and Giovinazzi never returned after their early mishaps, and they were joined on the sidelines by McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne and Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat, who retired with mechanical problems.

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