• Beats team-mate Rosberg by 18.6s
  • Rosberg retains championship lead by just four points
  • Alonso takes first podium of 2014 ahead of Ricciardo

Lewis Hamilton took three consecutive wins for the first time in his F1 career with a comfortable victory in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Leading away from pole position, Hamilton eased clear of the field and eventually won by 18.6 seconds from team-mate Nico Rosberg, who recovered from a poor start to take second place and retain a slender four-point championship lead. Rosberg had to pass Fernando Alonso in the final stint - which he did with ease - but Alonso had enough pace to hold on to third.

Daniel Ricciardo was closing down the Ferrari in the closing laps having pit later for the final time, but was unable to get within striking distance and had to settle for fourth. Ricciardo was perhaps not helped by two laps stuck behind Sebastian Vettel despite his team-mate having been ordered to move aside. Vettel himself came home fifth as he appeared to struggle more with his tyres than Ricciardo.

Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth - his fourth consecutive top-six finish this season - ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat.

Hamilton's victory was never in doubt once he got away well off the line ahead of the fast-starting Vettel and Alonso. Felipe Massa made a flying start but touched wheels with Alonso on the run to Turn 1, momentarily being launched in to the air, while Vettel had to defend from Alonso in to Turn 5.

Rosberg dropped as far as seventh place after contact with Bottas but recovered his first position from Hulkenberg in to the final corner at the end of the opening lap. He soon made more progress as he passed Massa at the Turn 14 hairpin, and Massa's day soon went from bad to worse.

Pitting for the first time from sixth place, Massa was delayed in the pits as Williams initially fit the wrong wheels at the rear of the car. Having attempted to replace them, there were further problems with the left rear and Massa was dropped to the back of the field, with only Adrian Sutil having retired early on.

Alonso got the jump on Vettel in the first round of pit stops, while Rosberg also managed to get ahead of Ricciardo at the same time. A few laps after the stops, Rosberg passed Vettel in to Turn 14 and then held off the Red Bull through the opening two corners, allowing Ricciardo to close up. Vettel was told to allow his team-mate through, but after asking what strategy he was on, replied "tough luck", before relenting at Turn 1 two laps later.

Romain Grosjean had been running competitively in the top ten but ran in to fourth gear issues and after a few laps ran off at Turn 11, limping back to the pits and in to retirement at the halfway stage.

Rosberg closed on Alonso for second place, but the Ferrari was first of the front runners to pit for a second time at the end of lap 33 and made use of the undercut to extend his lead. Two laps later Vettel pitted having been passed by Kamui Kobayashi unlapping himself, and he rejoined well adrift of team-mate Ricciardo.

After the two Mercedes' pit, Rosberg eased up to the back of Alonso and cruised past in to Turn 14, but by now Hamilton was already around 15 seconds up the road and managing his pace. While Ricciardo threatened to close in on the Ferrari for the final podium spot, Alonso responded and eventually crossed the line 1.2s clear.

While the majority of the final stint saw comfortable gaps between cars, Bottas provided some late interest by catching the back of Hulkenberg but couldn't find a way past the Red Bull.

Hamilton's only moment of slight concern came at the start of his final lap, when he believed he may already have finished - radioing in to the team to say "I just saw the chequered flag" - but he maintained pace to make certain of victory.