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Tuesday, April 23

Hamilton wins F1's 1,000th race - the key talking points from Chinese GP

PA | 7d
The British driver's win in China took him to the top of the 2019 drivers' championship for the first time.

Lewis Hamilton leads the championship for the first time this season following his victory at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes star moved clear of team-mate Valtteri Bottas with a flawless drive in Shanghai.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things we learned from Formula One's 1,000th race.

1. Ferrari in a flap

Despite charging to an impressive sixth win in front of his adoring Chinese fans, Hamilton's heroics were somewhat overshadowed by Ferrari's decision to use team orders. Sebastian Vettel cut a forlorn figure in the team's hospitality suite, defending his position as the team's number one. When contending for a title, Ferrari have always favoured one driver. Rubens Barrichello was Michael Schumacher's wing man, Felipe Massa played second fiddle to Fernando Alonso, and most recently, Kimi Raikkonen was Vettel's number two. As seen in Shanghai, Ferrari are affording Vettel preferential treatment over Charles Leclerc.

Can they be blamed? Vettel has won 52 races and four titles. Leclerc, although a star of the future, has never won a single grand prix. Yet, unlike in their recent history, Ferrari have two drivers that appear evenly-matched. There may be races, too, such as Bahrain, where Leclerc holds a speed advantage.

What do Ferrari do then? It would be counter-intuitive to slow down their fastest man. Vettel, meanwhile, is not just having to contend with Hamilton's brilliance and his speedy Mercedes – a combination which has seen him fluff his lines on numerous occasions – the German is now under pressure from Leclerc. Look at the mistakes he made when the Monegasque was told to give way.

Would the same have happened on the rare occasions Raikkonen was ushered aside for Vettel? No. It is proving a troubling distraction for Ferrari and one they could rather do without.

2. Hamilton on course for title honours

How times have changed for Ricciardo. Last year, he won in China. Now, racing for Renault, he said he was pleased to make it to the finish, crossing the line in seventh and earning his first points of the season. Ricciardo may be paid handsomely by the French team, receiving an annual pay cheque thought to be north of £20million, but unless Renault dramatically improve, there is every reason to suggest Ricciardo may never win again.

5. Should F1 have put on a better show for landmark race?

F1's 1000th race passed off without great fanfare. Something of a crying shame. A handful of ex-drivers posed alongside the current crop, and team principals, in a poorly-arranged photo before the start of yesterday's race. Damon Hill completed a few laps in his father and two-time world champion Graham's Lotus 49B. Yet, it felt like an opportunity missed. Why not parade all the living world champions before the race in their title-winning cars? The relatively soulless Shanghai International Circuit was an underwhelming venue, too. Hopefully, we'll see a better show for the 2,000th running in some 45 years' time.



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RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914
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