Lewis Hamilton's F1 heroics not enough to catch Nico Rosberg
Victory in China puts German driver 36 points ahead of Mercedes team-mate and reigning champion
Nico Rosberg cruised to victory in the Chinese Grand Prix to become only the fourth F1 driver to win six consecutive races.
However, with a lead of 36 points over team-mate Lewis Hamilton, the German is now under pressure to deliver the title. With 17 GP wins, he is Formula 1's most-successful driver never to have won the world championship, while no driver has ever failed to win the title after winning the first three races of the season.
"He will have to defy history to lose this championship from here," says Daniel Johnson of the Daily Telegraph. But Hamilton will not be put off, he has a "mountain to climb" but with 18 races left this season, 36 points is still a "manageable hike".
'Snakes and ladders' for Lewis Hamilton
The two Mercedes drivers had very different afternoons in Shanghai. While Rosberg started from the front and was untouchable as he swept around the circuit, Hamilton began at the back of the grid after his engine failed in qualifying and had a rather more eventful race.
The Briton made 18 overtakes and five pit stops as he forced his way into the top ten. "It was more like snakes and ladders than the pinnacle of motor racing. In statistical terms, Lewis Hamilton overtook almost the entire field at the Chinese Grand Prix yesterday, yet his reward was a meagre seventh place," says Kevin Eason of The Times.
Vettel takes on Kvyat
There was drama everywhere in Shanghai, particularly on the first lap, when one collision led to a confrontation between drivers after the race.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who ended in second place, was caught on camera berating third-placed Daniil Kvyat for a "suicidal" move on the opening circuit which caused him to collide with his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Vettel seemed shaken by the accident, but Johnson of the Telegraph dismisses it as "typical first corner mayhem". However, the driver did recover well and went from 15th to fourth in six laps. "The old idea that the 28-year-old cannot overtake is long dead."
Kvyat was not the only Red Bull driver in the spotlight: Daniel Ricciardo managed to get his nose in front of Rosberg after a sublime start.
But the two cars touched and on the third lap, Ricciardo lost his left-rear tyre and tumbled out of the reckoning. "Ricciardo would almost certainly not have been able to hold off Rosberg in any case, but his removal from the lead left the German serene out front," says Andrew Benson of the BBC.
Despite the collisions and two safety cars, the Chinese Grand Prix will go down as only the fifth race in history with no retirements. The last time that all the cars made it home safely was the 2011 European Grand Prix.