It’s been an action-packed race all the way to the chequered flag at the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton clinching his 54th victory ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. The two finished the race the way they started, but the standings don’t even begin to tell the full story.

While Hamilton led from pole throughout the race (he also took the fastest lap, making it his third “Grand Slam”), Vettel had a much more challenging time after starting on a mildly damp track on intermediate tyres. With the surface drying out quickly, the German elected to pit in for slicks – as did most of the field – on the second lap, after Force India’s Sergio Perez collided with Williams’ Lance Stroll, triggering a virtual safety car.

Unfortunately for Vettel, a real safety car was forced into action just two laps later after Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi crashed out on the main straight. This benefitted the five drivers who had yet to pit – Hamilton, his teammate Valterri Bottas, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen (already running in fifth, having started 16th) in the other Red Bull – and dropped Vettel to sixth.

Formel 1 – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Großer Preis von China 2017. Valtteri Bottas ;
Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Chinese GP 2017. Valtteri Bottas;

Thereafter, Vettel was on a mission to make up the places, swooping past Raikkonen on lap 20, then forcing his way around Ricciardo – while banging wheels with the Australian – two laps later. Verstappen then locked up on lap 28, allowing the Ferrari to take his place.

From there, Vettel looked to close the gap with Hamilton after both pitted for more tyres, but it was not to be as the Briton matched him for pace; he eventually finished 6.2 seconds behind. After his win in Australia, Vettel is now neck-and-neck with Hamilton in the drivers’ championship with 43 points apiece, while Mercedes has overtaken Ferrari in the constructors’ standings by just one point, at 66 points versus 65.

Meanwhile, Verstappen’s spectacular charge from the back of the grid led to him taking the final podium position, managing to fend off a charging Ricciardo in the closing stages. Just behind, Raikkonen finished barely ahead of Bottas, who recovered from 12th after he spun while weaving to keep tyre temperatures up behind the safety car.

Formel 1 – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Großer Preis von China 2017. Lewis Hamilton ;
Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Chinese GP 2017. Lewis Hamilton;

In seventh sat Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz who, after starting on slicks and spinning on the first lap, managed to finish behind the leading teams; behind him, Kevin Magnussen finished eighth for Haas ahead of the Force India duo of Perez and Esteban Ocon. Haas’ Romain Grosjean, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer, Williams’ Felipe Massa and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson rounded off the finishers.

A mechanical problem sidelined Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kyvat, while McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso were blighted by technical woes. The latter had an especially brutal end to his race, running as high as sixth and being in contention for points throughout.