Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix comfortably ahead of his teammate Nico Rosberg on Sunday as Mercedes tightened their grip on the season with their third one-two finish in a row.
The British former world champion got away smoothly from pole position and finished 19 seconds ahead of Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso third.
The two Red Bulls were behind, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo fourth, a massive 26.978sec behind Hamilton but well ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel, who was fifth just over 51sec behind the winner.
Vettel, who had a strained relationship with his previous teammate – Australian Mark Webber – appears set to earn the ire of his Red Bull bosses.
The German was instructed by his team to let his younger teammate, Ricciardo, pass him for the second race in a row.
Instead of acceding, however, the four-time defending champion initially fought off Ricciardo’s attempts to get by.
Vettel asked his team what tyres Ricciardo was using and when told they were both on mediums, Vettel responded: “Tough luck.”
At the start of lap 26, though, Vettel did finally make way for the faster Ricciardo and was unable to challenge him again.
Ricciardo nearly caught Alonso at the end but ran out of time, falling short by 1.2sec.
It would have been the first podium finish of his career – he had finished second in Australia but the result was stripped after he was found to have breached new fuel regulations. Despite winning three races in a row for the first time in his career, Hamilton still trails Rosberg by four points in the title race as he seeks his second world championship.
“I can’t believe how amazing the car is. I was able to look after the tyres and then I was racing myself,” said Hamilton on the podium after the race.
“I’m really happy Nico’s up here with us. It’s great points for the team.”
With four races out of 19 gone, Mercedes already have a stranglehold on the constructors’ standings with 154 points, 97 more than second-placed Red Bull.
It was a solid race for Force India, with Nico Hulkenberg sixth and Sergio Perez ninth.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was seventh, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen eighth, and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kyvat finished in 10th, another impressive showing by the 19-year-old debutant.