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Lewis Hamilton wins third straight F1 race

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his Chinese Grand Prix victory with his Mercedes team. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg finishes second.

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Lewis Hamilton celebrates his Chinese Grand Prix victory with his Mercedes team. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg finishes second.

SHANGHAI — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix.

Mercedes showed again that it is in a different class from its rivals. Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg took second, the third time in four races this season the pair have finished one-two.

"This is a team on a roll, that's for sure," Hamilton said. "I'm going to be working hard, we're going to keep working hard because obviously the others are pushing to catch us."

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso held off fast-charging Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo to finish third and give his team its first podium finish of the year, with new team principal Marco Mattiacci watching from the garage.

Ricciardo was fourth, finishing one place ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel after the four-time defending series champion was asked by his team to allow the faster Ricciardo to pass for the second race in a row.

Hamilton's win gave him three straight wins for the first time, following victories in Malaysia and Bahrain. With the win, he inched closer to Rosberg's lead in the drivers championship with 75 points, four back.

Hamilton, who moved one ahead of Jim Clark for most poles by a British driver with the 34th of his career for this race, was cruising so comfortably at the end that he wasn't even rattled when the checkered flag was mistakenly shown a lap too soon, at the end of Lap 55.

"That was very strange," Hamilton said. "I was thinking, 'Am I seeing things?' I looked up, I was coming across the line expecting to do another lap, and all of a sudden I looked for a split second and I saw the flag."

F1 regulations say if the checkered flag is shown early, the official end of the race will be the lap before it was shown. That meant the end of lap 54 Sunday.

The only racers this affected were Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi and Marussia's Jules Bianchi. Kobayashi had passed Bianchi on their final lap for 17th place, but their places were reversed in the official results.

Lewis Hamilton wins third straight F1 race 04/20/14 [Last modified: Sunday, April 20, 2014 8:59pm]

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