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Redemption for Hamilton, relief for Ricciardo in Shanghai

Lewis Hamilton said that he "redeemed" himself with a lightning start to win the 1,000th Formula One grand prix in a blustery Shanghai yesterday.

Hamilton started from second on the grid but grabbed the lead from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on the first corner and romped to a victory which gives him the world championship lead.

The title-holder from Britain finished more than 6.5 seconds ahead of Bottas in the third Mercedes one-two in as many races this season, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel third.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull was fourth and Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari was fifth.

Sixth was Verstappen's teammate Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman earning a bonus point for clocking the quickest lap, one minute 34.742 seconds, in windy and hazy conditions.

In seventh place was Daniel Ricciardo, who was relieved to score his first points for Renault to avoid a hat-trick of retirements since moving from Red Bull at the end of last season.

Hamilton, for whom this was a sixth Chinese Grand Prix win and 75th overall, said that it was "a little bit of a struggle this weekend" for him.

The five-time world champion wrestled with his car in qualifying but said that "a shift in driving style enabled me to unlock a bit more potential of the car".

"The start was obviously great, which was really the decisive moment of the race," he said. "After that, it was fairly straightforward."

Bottas, who pipped Hamilton to pole by just 0.023 seconds, was always playing catch-up after labouring out of the blocks.

"I lost it on the start, honestly, shame about the start, I got some wheel spin on the start line," said the Finn.

The talented Leclerc, 21, pulled off the same trick at the expense of teammate Vettel, darting into third, but the German prevailed, following team orders to let him pass. - AFP

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