Mercedes starts 2019 in style, perhaps better than the team would have even imagined. This is by registering a new double at the Chinese Grand Prix, which is apparently the 1000th Grand Prix in history. Lewis Hamilton moved away from the start, pushing his team-mate and pioneer Valtteri Bottas in the first round. From then on, the two Mercedes worked together to hold Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari behind her.
Where everything was at the edge of the pool for Mercedes, Ferrari fought in China with interesting battles between teams. At first, it was Charles Leclerc in front of Vettel, but even before the 10th round, Seb was on the radio and complained about Charles' delay. On the 11th lap, while the two Ferraris were in tire conservation mode, Leclerc was asked to depart for a furious Vettel.
Once it became clear that Vettel would not do better to catch up with the Mercedes, everything started to crumble. Leclerc followed the right teammate strategy to try to put Vettel in front of the Mercedes duo. When Vettel scored the last time for the tires, the team left Leclerc outside so he could harangue Valtteri Bottas a bit to hold him back, then once Bottas made his way a few laps later, further prevented him from allowing Vettel the help of the DRS on his attempts to catch Bottas.
I can not say better than this tweet from Will Buxton.
Rather than keeping the drivers out of breath, Ferrari shook the natural order in which she was and had to fight seriously to keep Red Bull at bay. Two consecutive rounds, Max Verstappen imposed a DRS movement on Vettel. Two laps in a row, Verstappen goes a bit too far out of the corner and Vettel has to embark on an ultra-aggressive race and push him far into the grass to stay in control.
First Corner Contretemps – Daniil Kvyat made a double in Carlos Sainz before returning to Lando Norris, eliminating both McLaren at one go. Kvyat was charged with a penalty for forced driving for contact.
Lewis Hamilton has led 4000 laps in his career now, a feat that Michael Schumacher had previously accomplished.
Mercedes made a perfectly clean double stop, calling both pilots and stacking them. By the time Hamilton's car had been repaired, she was literally leaving the same second arrival of Bottas.
There were some good sides to this race, and it's really amazing to see Lewis Hamilton again absolutely perfect this weekend, winning his sixth Grand Prix of China and his 75th career win. Can any one bring the fight to Mercedes later this season? This team looks rather bullet-proof.