Sebastian Vettel asked about Charles Leclerc team orders: Ferrari driver reacts ANGRILY

Bottas keeps Mercedes on top in final Chinese GP practice

Valtteri Bottas grabs pole position at #ChineseGP, Lewis Hamilton second

Hamilton had been exceptionally careful before the race to insist that F1's milestone meeting was not of great outcome to him, only maximising the points, which he duly did with what was an ominously dominant performance for Mercedes.

"Sorry guys", he said over the team radio.

"We do our job, stay focused", Leclerc - agonisingly denied victory last time out in Bahrain after his Ferrari lost power late on - was informed on team radio after he briefly protested.

"Valtteri was particularly quick in the first sector so I was experimenting throughout the session", said the 34-year-old, a five-time victor in Shanghai.

After taking the lead, Hamilton edged away from Bottas, building a five-second lead before his first pit stop on lap 22.

Reigning champion Hamilton got the jump on pole-sitter Bottas, who beat Sebastian Vettel to second, into turn one and never looked in danger of missing out on a second straight triumph in F1's 1000th race.

Briton Hamilton recorded a record-extending sixth Shanghai top spot and the convincing drive was also his 75th overall, and second of the season.

The next is in two weeks in Baku, Azerbaijan.

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Leclerc finished in fifth behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Racing Point RP19 Mercedes on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 12, 2019 in Shanghai, China.

Hamilton agreed with Bottas that the start made all the difference in the result. "And after that it was kind of history".

The teammates are the leaders after the first two Formula One races this season with each having won once. "It's a shame for him but at that stage of the race Mercedes were slightly faster and we simply tried to give Sebastian a go and see if he could keep the pace of Mercedes", he explained. "We have no idea how the next race is going to turn out".

Polesitter Bottas made a good initial getaway, but wheelspin during the acceleration phase cost him valuable momentum and allowed Lewis Hamilton to sneak ahead on the run to the first corner.

The British-born Thai driver lost control as the auto started to slide.

"Good to get on the board, good to finish the race, we were looking for that for the last couple - obviously we'll take the positives from that", Ricciardo said.

The German was overtaken by his decade-younger team-mate Charles Leclerc at the start, but Ferrari soon told the Monegasque to let Vettel pass.

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With Vettel ostensibly quicker, the team ordered Leclerc to let Vettel through on lap 11 and he did so.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto told Sky that if his driver was upset, he was "right" to feel that way given how the race unfolded.

"Team orders already, this early in the season".

And when asked about the team orders afterwards, Vettel was annoyed with the way he felt some journalists may construe the situation.

"I'm happy to be on the podium", he said.

"We were just not able to stick with Mercedes". "It's just another race we're here to win".

"The objective was to chase Mercedes down but they were just too quick".

It was another eventful race in China in the early hours of Sunday morning, Lewis Hamilton started from second but secured a dominant win, there was more controversy in the Ferrari setup and there was an unexpected surge from a contender for driver of the day.

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