Albon crashes in final China practice, comes out physically unscathed

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Firstly, Ferrari was not fast enough in China, even with its straightline speed advantage carrying over from Bahrain.

The next race on the calendar is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in a fortnight. Early on in proceedings the team asked Charles Leclerc to let Vettel past him, as it felt the four-time world champion was quicker - Leclerc initially protested, but obeyed, and arguably lost fourth position to Max Verstappen as a result.

Hamilton celebrates his victory in the Chinese GP. Probably back in 2007, 2008 was also really poor period of time for starts, particularly against the Ferraris who were very, very strong with it.

Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas completed their third straight double to achieve a feat not seen since 1992 when Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese went 1-2 in the first three races. "The priority will be to focus on the performance of the auto, if we have the performance this issue will be sorted".

It all came together at the ideal time as a wonderful start saw Hamilton jump Bottas, on pole, for the lead into turn one.

"And then the start was obviously great, which was really the decisive moment I'd say for the race".

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Team orders are never welcome in F1, especially this early in the season, but it's fitting in a race of special historical significance that the oldest team of them all should act entirely in character. I'm slowly getting more confident, I think we take one step every weekend but of course I would like to take three every time. Vettel qualified third, behind Valtteri Bottas in pole and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in second.

Leclerc claimed to be struggling with a gearbox issue in the latter stages and, despite being informed everything was fine over team radio, he was unable to catch Verstappen.

Vettel lost track position to Charles Leclerc, who saw a potential first F1 win slip through his fingers in Bahrain, into turn one but benefited from team orders en route to taking the final step on the podium. On lap 11, he was ordered to let Vettel through and that wasted crucial time and yielded hardly any team benefit.

"But I just accepted it, did it and focused on my race", said Leclerc, whose truncated responses suggested the frustration lingered. "It's tough. We tried to stick with them". I think I just finished second overall of quickest starts throughout the year to, I think it was Carlos Sainz or something like that.

The race was billed as the 1000th in Formula One history dating from the first race in 1950 at the Silverstone circuit in England.

A notable casualty in Q2 was former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, the Alfa Romeo veteran who is a crowd favourite in China.