• Rosberg multiplies his world championship lead with a third straight victory in the Chinese Grand Prix
  • Turn one dramas see both Ferraris collide and several cars -including Lewis Hamilton - suffer damage
  • Vettel charges back from early delay to finish second as Daniil Kvyat completes podium; Hamilton recovers to seventh
CLICK HERE for full Chinese Grand Prix race result.

Nico Rosberg has multiplied his lead in the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship standings to 36 points after strolling to a third consecutive win amidst yet more lap one chaotic that neutered the threat from Ferrari and an already compromised Lewis Hamilton.

Another perfect race for the runaway championship leader, though Rosberg lost the lead to fellow front row start Daniel Ricciardo into turn one, he was just clear of the melee that would break out behind him and largely eliminate the main threat from Ferrari.

Recovering the lead on lap three from Ricciardo - just as the luckless Australian's left-rear developed a puncture after striking debris -, Rosberg was never threatened thereafter as he forged clear to win by more than half a minute, marking a third consecutive success for 2016 and his sixth including 2015.

With Hamilton labouring to seventh on a day that would see his poor fortune strike repeatedly as he was forced to make five pit-stops, Rosberg now leads his Mercedes team-mate by a significant 36 points.

If Rosberg made it look easy out front, his rivals were certainly making hard work of their afternoons behind as Sebastian Vettel struck his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen around turn one, tipping the Finn into a half spin and damaging his car. With Vettel blaming Daniil Kvyat's robust first corner pass up the inside for forcing him into Raikkonen to the outside of him, the ensuing concertina effect would see Romain Grosjean, Felipe Nasr and also Lewis Hamilton - starting last - also pick up damage as they came together in the melee.

With the leading contenders delayed, Red Bull were the big winners, Ricciardo leading Rosberg from Kvyat, ahead of Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz and Vettel.

With Rosberg pouncing on Ricciardo as soon as DRS was enabled, the Australian's effort was almost instantaneously negated when he suffered a left-rear puncture caused by debris on the circuit.

Prompting the safety car to come out and the mad dash to the pits, Vettel pulled off a daring two-car pass on the run to the pit lane entry after Hulkenberg - trying to gap Perez ahead of him - slowed to a canter, a move he was later given a time penalty for.

As one of the few drivers not to pit, Rosberg assumed the lead and stretched clear when the safety car pulled off after five laps, gapping the pack behind as those on fresher rubber emerged ahead of the Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Pascal Wehrlein, who filled second, third and fourth having not stopped.

From here the race would descend into a battle of strategy, Mercedes attempting to play Hamilton back into contention with multiple stops to clear the less favourable rubber, though this would mean a total of five pit-stops for the defending champion.

Up at the front, Kvyat quickly moved his way back into second place as Rosberg's nearest - albeit distant challenger -, while Vettel, despite damage on his Ferrari, was particularly ruthless in his charge back into contention to climb back to third by lap 21.

Though he couldn't make in-roads into Kvyat during the third stint, a move onto soft tyres for the fourth stint - unlike the Red Bull's medium rubber - allowed him to quickly dispatch his sparring partner to recover second place on lap 35 -, stretching beyond the Russian to complete his best finish of the season. Unable to claw back ground on Vettel in the final laps, Kvyat was nonetheless able to keep it clean for his second career podium, a first for Red Bull in 2016.

Following his earlier puncture, Ricciardo put in a mighty drive back to fourth place, producing a marvellous pass on Lewis Hamilton on the way as he clawed back up the order swiftly in the final laps, while Raikkonen can also be satisfied with his fight back to fifth after his delays.

By contrast, Hamilton struggled to make his strategies work, racing with Ricciardo and Raikkonen for much of the afternoon as they attempted to recover ground. However, after getting as high as fifth place, Hamilton became stuck behind Felipe Massa's Williams, allowing Riccardo and Raikkonen to close again and pass him. Unable to clear the Brazilian, Hamilton was forced to bring a hugely unsatisfying weekend in Shanghai to a close with a disappointing seventh place.

Making quick gains in the closing stages with fresher tyres, Max Verstappen hauled his way back up to eighth place, on the tail of the fading Hamilton, to keep up his point-scoring record in 2016, while Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz passed Valtteri Bottas on the final lap to secure ninth.

Despite several on-track incidents, there was not a single retirement, with notable disappointments coming from Force India as it faded through the race following its bright start, while McLaren also ran in the top ten for much of the race only to slip back behind more competitive machinery coming through the field.

 

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