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Hamilton Dominates, Wins Chinese GP

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton dominated the Chinese Grand Prix to take his first win of the year and move into a share of the championship lead.

Hamilton's victory, in a race enlivened by a wet start and some terrific wheel-to-wheel battles through the field, ties him with first-race winner Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

The German finished second, hardening impressions that 2017 will devolve into a fight between the two multiple champions.

Vettel had to fight back after losing out on strategy in a chaotic opening to the race, which kept the shape of the race in doubt through a series of incidents and accidents.

The moment it fell for Hamilton

The race could have turned out very differently had it not been for a key moment on lap four.

After a wet start, Hamilton led the opening lap from Vettel and Bottas but the deployment of the virtual safety car following a crash by Williams rookie Lance Stroll, punted off by Force India's Sergio Perez, prompted Vettel and most of the midfield runners to pit for dry tyres on lap two.

The decision dropped Vettel to sixth but with all the runners ahead of him still on the grooved intermediate tyres on a rapidly drying track.

The four-time champion was now in a strong position, and poised to take the lead when Hamilton, Bottas, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and the second Red Bull of Max Verstappen pitted.

But Hamilton and the others were saved by a crash by Sauber's Antonio Giovinazzi, the Italian losing it at the last corner, just as he had in qualifying on Saturday.

That brought out the safety car and Hamilton and the rest could make their own pit stops for dry tyres without losing out.

From there, Hamilton could control the race at will and was pretty much untroubled, despite a late push from Vettel.

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Hamilton Beats Vettel to China GP Pole

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian VettelImage result for 2017 chinese grand prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won a tight fight with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to take pole position for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton beat Vettel by 0.186 seconds for his second pole in two races, while the German edged the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas by 0.001secs.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen made it the same top four on the grid as at the season-opening race in Australia.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was fifth but 1.355secs off the pace.

The Australian's team-mate Max Verstappen was 19th after an engine problem.

Mercedes and Ferrari going toe to toe

China has underlined the impression created at the Australian Grand Prix that Mercedes and Ferrari are incredibly closely matched at the start of a season where huge regulation change has produced faster and more demanding cars.

And as in Melbourne, it was Briton Hamilton who made the difference, pulling out the stops when it mattered in the final qualifying session as it appeared Ferrari might have the edge.

Vettel was fastest in final practice and in the first part of qualifying, and Raikkonen of Finland topped the second session.

But 32-year-old Hamilton produced the first lap under one minute 32 seconds all weekend at the start of the top 10 shootout, beating Vettel by 0.184secs despite a slide at Turn 11.

Hamilton and Vettel both lowered their times by a little over 0.2secs on their final runs and the Mercedes man kept the advantage.

It was Hamilton's sixth pole in a row - dating back to last year's US Grand Prix - and his sixth in China, where his record of four wins is better than any other driver.

However, he will surely know he has his work cut out to beat Ferrari in the race after Vettel's impressive victory in Australia two weeks ago - BBC

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