SHANGHAI, April 12- World champion Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix for the second year running on Sunday, holding off Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in a race which finished under the safety car.
The Briton made it two victories from three races this season and extended his record number of Shanghai wins to four, while Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished third and fourth for Ferrari.
Hamilton was cruising home almost five seconds ahead of Rosberg until Max Verstappen’s Torro Rosso stopped on the pit straight two laps from the end, bringing out the safety car.
After a flawless weekend, Hamilton darted aggressively into turn one from pole and he picked up the pace over the second half of the race.
Rosberg, who reacted angrily his near-miss in Saturday’s qualifying by snapping at his mechanics over the radio, pushed hard, at one point demanding: “Tell Lewis to speed up.”
Hamilton, who had been protecting his tyres, duly obliged after a second round of pit stops, and established a comfortable gap over the German.
Vettel, who stunned dominant Mercedes to win in tropical Malaysia two weeks ago, failed to produce a similar upset as the Silver Arrows resumed normal service.
Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished fifth and sixth respectively.
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes)
305.066 km in 1hr 39min 42.008 sec
(average speed: 183.590 kph)
2. Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes) at 0.714
3. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) at 2.988
4. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) at 3.835
5. Felipe Massa (BRA/Williams) at 8.544
6. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Williams) at 9.885
7. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus) at 19.008
8. Felipe Nasr (BRA/Sauber AG) at 22.625
9. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Red Bull) at 32.117
10. Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber AG) at 1 lap
11. Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India) at 1 lap
12. Fernando Alonso (ESP/McLaren) at 1 lap
13. Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren) at 1 lap
14. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Toro Rosso) at 1 lap
15. Will Stevens (GBR/Marussia) at 2 laps
16. Roberto Merhi (ESP/Marussia) at 2 laps
17. Max Verstappen (NED/Toro Rosso) at 4 laps
Reasons for retirements:
Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Force India): 10th lap
Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Red Bull): 16th lap
Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Lotus): 50th lap
Max Verstappen (NED/Toro Rosso): 53th lap (classified)