Lewis Hamilton easily won the Grand Prix of China while Ferrari needed team orders between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
Mercedes scored a third consecutive double as Valtteri Bottas finished second after taking the pole position, covering any Ferrari threat behind a less than thrilling 1000th since the start of the championship.
Hamilton made the jump and led Turn 1, with Leclerc taking a similar lead over Vettel in the second row, while the two Red Bulls lined up behind. Hamilton has never been headed since and has rarely watched under the threat of his teammate, as Mercedes had the tempo needed to relax at the start of the stint.
The biggest drama was taking place at Ferrari, where Leclerc seemed to be holding Vettel in the air and was urged to speed up or let German go. Leclerc agreed to do so if he did not deviate in two rounds, then was ordered to change jobs despite the protest that he had dug a hole.
Once in front of him, Vettel could not let down his teammate and started making mistakes – blocking several times – leading to Leclerc complaining of having to be allowed to come back. While all this was going on, Max Verstappen had managed to close first, which meant that Ferrari would lose a position.
It was Vettel who had the upper hand and the pits on the next lap, to repel an attack from Verstappen while the Red Bull dipped inside at the pin of lap 14. Vettel found the place at the exit by squeezing Verstappen. He now has the courage to move away to secure his first podium of the season.
Leclerc was left out a number of laps before moving to hard tires – like all front runners – and he held up well in third place. Leclerc, who had been instructed to push hard, approached the back of the Verstappen when the Dutchman made a second stop on lap 34, qualifying for a 22-lap lap with means on the ball. flag.
Vettel had to react and Mercedes did the same in case of safety car, superimposing his cars impressively to reduce the risk that one of them would get stuck on the track. Leclerc had risen to second place and had resisted Bottas for one lap – allowing Hamilton to take advantage – before needing a second stop. later, which would leave a gap in Verstappen too big to face the last laps.
Behind Leclerc, Pierre Gasly had a strong race for Red Bull. He came home with a sixth place, having started with soft tires compared to the mediums of those who preceded him. Gasly had at least a bit of excitement – and an extra point – at the end of the race as he made a third pit stop late for a new round of softballs and won the best lap of Vettel.
Daniel Ricciardo amassed his first points for Renault with a strong lead to seventh place. He was the leading car that did a strategic job despite starting in soft. Ricciardo was under pressure from the impressive Sergio Perez in the final stages, but both were looking after their tires, as did Kimi Raikkonen, who scored points for the third consecutive race for Alfa Romeo.
Raikkonen had seemed to be a threat for seventh place after a long first stint, but had pushed the attack too far in front of Perez and had fainted in the final laps.
The last point was won by Alexander Albon, who excelled after his fall in FP3 forced him to leave the pit lane. A one-stop strategy did not require any help with safety car – with only a small virtual security car needed in the first round – and Toro Rosso's rookie resisted Romain Grosjean in the final stages while Haas struggled again for the pace of the race and finished off points.
The virtual safety car was essential in the first lap when Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat met. The two McLarens touched each other, forcing Sainz to hit Kvyat, who then sent Norris to the second-place finish of Formula 2 2018 in the air.
The three men continued, but Kvyat was severely sentenced to a vehicle penalty, and both McLaren needed repairs before Kvyat and Norris retired later.
The only other retirement was Nico Hulkenberg, who reported a problem with his car and entered the pits early in the race, as Renault's bad record of reliability continued after a double DNF in Bahrain.