by H. Mayor / photo: f1.com Lewis got back at Seb with his titanic win in Shanghai Chinese GP but there might be more to it than it seems. The cards are now on the table for the 2017 World Championship with everyone in the shadow of the British and the German who are now tied at the top in their battle for the title. Hamilton climbed to the top of the podium after a faultless race against a very strong Vettel making clear to the others that they can now only hope for second or third best. Not even Red Bull nor their own team mates are likely contenders anymore and will have to remain on the side-lines.
It is only been two races and things can change quickly but the duopoly seems to have already separated from the rest. Hamilton took his sixth pole after closing in on Schumacher’s record with the fastest lap ever seen in Shanghai. He took advantage of the safety car at Giovinazzi’s accident to cleanly set straight another one of Mercedes’ dubious tyre strategies. It was just three laps from the start but the race was decided there and then with Hamilton dominating the race with an iron fist and Vettel at a distance getting steadily worn out after many laps battling with Ricciardo and his own team-mate Raikkonen.
He returned the blow suffered at Melbourne and now the two biggest names of 2017 are drawn level at the top after just two races. On the other side of ‘the wall’ was the spectacular performance of Verstappen, an electric and vigorous come back from the tail to third position. It was the first podium for the young Dutch who positions himself as a direct contender to Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Bottas, the latter offering a very weak race indeed. After the Olimpo, came another great race for Carlos Saínz who finished seventh after squeezing all the juice out of his Toro Rosso.
He is making all the headlines lately because of both his personal and team situations. Fernando Alonso did in China much the same as he did in Australia: a great performance, sometimes running sixth and sometimes even leading over Mercede’s Bottas before the incredulous eyes of the public, to end up breaking down. This time it was at the 33rd lap when the McLaren said – no more. The other highlights were the remarkable performances of Magnussen and Force India that took their first points and a horrendous day for Williams (Stroll again unable to finish). The grill also still awaits for Renault, perhaps the other big let down of this start of the season.