AIN’S Lewis Hamilton surged to the top of the drivers’ championship with a third-place finish at the Chinese Grand Prix yesterday, before blaming a grid penalty for denying him a first race win of the season.
Hamilton sneaked past world champion Sebastian Vettel two laps from the finish to secure a podium place in Shanghai, behind McLaren team-mate Jenson Button and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, who claimed his first ever race win.
Rosberg enjoyed a comfortable run from pole but Hamilton insists he could have toppled the German had a gearbox change not forced him to start in seventh, causing him to fight his way through the field.
“I am sure we would have given Nico a run for his money but the traffic we had and the amount of pit-stops was incredible. But I’m still happy and we need to keep pushing to get some better results in the future,” said the Stevenage driver.
“I think the Mercedes has good pace but it is much, much easier when you have clean air and are at the front when everyone else is being held up. [Rosberg] was just saying to me it was an easy race so I know that.”
Hamilton leads the standings by two points from compatriot Button, who might also have pushed Rosberg harder but for a crucial 10-second delay sustained in a pit-stop.
Vettel was also overtaken at the death by Red Bull colleague Mark Webber, while Lotus’s Romain Grosjean took sixth place and his maiden Formula One points.