Hamilton halts Vettel run

Hamilton halts Vettel run

Good pit strategy guides Briton to Chinese GP victory

Hamilton, who made it out of the Shanghai pit lane with only seconds to spare after frantic work on his car’s engine before the race, hunted down his German rival remorselessly on better gripping tyres in the closing laps to win by 5.1 seconds.

Australian Mark Webber finished third for Red Bull after starting 18th while McLaren’s Jenson Button was fourth following a rare blunder that saw him pit in front of the Red Bull mechanics. Vettel now has 68 points after three races while Hamilton moved up to second overall with 47. Red Bull have 105 to McLaren's 85 and Ferrari's 50 in the constructors' standings.

The 26-year-old, triumphant in Shanghai on his way to the title in 2008, was the first driver to win twice in China since the race made its debut on the calendar in 2004.

“The car just wouldn't start," he said of the pre-race problems that saw him drive out of the garage barely 30 seconds before the pit lane closed and without the rear engine cover installed. Mechanics carried on their work once he was safely installed in third place on the grid. Vettel had won the first two races of the season, after also finishing first in the last two of 2010, from pole position and looked the favourite again after grabbing the top slot.

His team’s decision to go for a two-stop strategy, rather than Hamilton’s three, proved crucial with the McLaren man making the most of his fresher tyres to reel in the Red Bull after his final stop.

Meanwhile, Force India drivers Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil returned empty handed, finishing 11th and 15th respectively.

Both drivers made good starts, with Paul up one place to seventh and Adrian making up three positions to eighth by the end of the first lap. But unfortunately, the usual front runners who had started lower down the grid were just too strong as the race unfolded, and the team narrowly missed out on a top 10 finish.

Hispania's Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan came 23rd and finished a race for the first time this season.

Chinese GP standings

Driver                            Team                                Timing        
1. Lewis Hamilton          McLaren                             1:36:58.226
2. Sebastian Vettel        Red Bull                             +00.05.198
3. Mark Webber             Red Bull                             +00.07.555
4. Jenson Button            McLaren                            +00.10.000
5. Nico Rosberg             Mercedes                           +00.13.448
6. Felipe Massa              Ferrari                               +00.15.840
7. Fernando Alonso        Ferrari                               +00.30.622
8. Michael Schumacher   Mercedes                          +00.31.026
9. Vitaly Petrov              Renault                              +00.57.404
10. Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber                               +01.03.273