F1: Lewis Hamilton heads into mini-break in 'the happiest mood I can recall'

The Mercedes driver won his third Grand Prix in a row with victory in China

Lewis Hamilton heads into Formula One's mini-break riding the crest of a wave following a third consecutive victory for the first time in his career.

From lights to flag in the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, Hamilton was never troubled en route to finishing 18 seconds clear of team-mate Nico Rosberg as Mercedes again trounced their rivals.

Remarkably, despite Hamilton's unprecedented run of success since he first made his F1 debut in 2007, the 29-year-old still trails Rosberg by four points in the drivers' standings.

A technical failure in the season-opening race in Australia won by Rosberg is so far costing the Briton dear, but there was no doubting his delight at his latest success.

"I'm in the happiest mood I can recall. It's been an incredible weekend," said Hamilton, who followed up a British record 34th pole with his 25th race win.

"I had a great qualifying. I wasn't really expecting that to turn out as it did, and then with the race, to get a great start and pull away and control it from there, it was an incredible feeling.

"The job the team are doing, and the guys that are around me, I'm so much more comfortable with the people I'm working with this year.

"It feels incredible to get three wins, and this team is on a roll."

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit  

Not since 2005 and Renault has a team won the first four races of a season, with seemingly little threat being posed by their rivals who now have three weeks to retaliate ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix on May 11.

The only moment of consternation came at the end of lap 55 of the 56-lap race when the chequered flag was mistakenly waved, with Hamilton lifting off the power for a second as he crossed the line.

If the race had been as close as it was a fortnight ago in Bahrain when Hamilton beat Rosberg by exactly one second, such a pause could have proven extremely costly.

On this occasion, given the gap to Rosberg, there was no cause for alarm, only a red-face for the embarrassed flag bearer.

Hamilton eventually completed the final lap, although as per the FIA's sporting regulations the race classification was taken at the end of lap 54, rendering the final two laps meaningless.

"As I crossed the line expecting to do another lap, I looked up for a split second and I saw the flag," added Hamilton.

"I lifted for a second, but I saw there was no-one on the wall (of the Mercedes pit who would be there to greet his win).

"I asked the team (whether the race had finished) and they said no, so I just kept going. Very, very strange.

"If I'd thought about slowing and the radio had failed, and then Nico came by, then that would have really sucked."

Fernando Alonso finished third to give Ferrari their first podium this season and new team principal Marco Mattiacci cause to cheer.

Behind the Spaniard were the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and four-times champion Sebastian Vettel, who at one stage disobeyed an order to allow by his team-mate.

It had to be explained to Vettel the scenario as to why he should do so, with the 26-year-old German eventually relinquishing, finishing fifth to leave him trailing Rosberg by 46 points.

On a bad day for McLaren, Jenson Button could only manage 11th, with rookie team-mate Kevin Magnussen 13th, whilst Marussia's Max Chilton was 19th of the 20 finishers.

PA

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