Nico Rosberg continued his winning form this season with his third victory for Mercedes at the Chinese Grand Prix.
This was Rosberg’s sixth consecutive victory, beating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton since last year’s Mexican Grand Prix.
This latest achievement means he opens up a 36-point lead over Hamilton.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished in second position, despite a clash with his Ferrari’s team-mate caused by Daniil Kvyat, who was able to complete the podium for Red Bull Racing.
As for Hamilton, starting from the back of the grid after a MGU-H failure during qualifying and subsequent power unit change post session, the reigning champion could do no better than seventh position.
But that’s only half the story of what was a chaotic race at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo took the lead into Turn 1 after beating polesitter Rosberg off the line from his own front-row position.
Behind the lead duo, Kimi Raikkonen locked up marginally at the first corner, forcing Ferrari team-mate Vettel to make a slightly evasive move.
But with Kvyat charging up the inside, Vettel manoeuvred his way back into his team-mate, sending The Iceman off the track and into the pits for repairs.
Vettel was angry over the team’s radio, blaming Kvyat as “a madman” who had made a “suicidal” move and arguing with him after the race.
Hamilton had made up five position into Turn 1, but after running over a piece of Raikkonen’s front wing, the champion was then hit by Felipe Nasr and ended up with his own front wing lodged under his Mercedes.
That caused damage to his Silver Arrows, resulting in a loss of downforce and hampering Hamilton’s recovery.
Leader Ricciardo’s hopes were dashed on lap three when, powering down the back straight and with Rosberg behind, he sustained a puncture to his left-rear tyre caused by debris on the track.
Shredded rubber on that part of the circuit prompted a safety car, and brought Raikkonen and Hamilton back into contention at the rear of the pack.
During the five laps the safety car was on track, Hamilton made two stops for tyres, taking on super-softs for one lap, and then back to another set of softs, the compound on which he had started, giving him free choice of Pirelli tyres for the rest of the Chinese Grand Prix.
Once the safety car was released, behind leader Rosberg a number of key players were out of position, with Vettel P15, Ricciardo P17, Raikkonen P19 and Hamilton P21.
What followed was an easy Sunday drive for Rosberg, while those behind attempted to work out the best strategy and tyres for any given part of the race, with positions changing constantly.
Kvyat ran second to Rosberg for most of the race, with Vettel using a brief hard-charging stint on super-softs to make progress through the traffic and catch him again.
They swapped positions immediately after the final pit stops, where Ferrari put Vettel on softs and he was able to quickly attack on the medium-shod Red Bull.
At one stage prior to his fourth pit stop after 21 laps Hamilton was running third as others pitted, but two further stops followed – for a total of five – dropping him down the order on both occasions.
Hamilton came back through to push Felipe Massa’s Williams for fourth, but was eventually passed by a flying Ricciardo and Raikkonen.
Ricciardo ultimately claimed fourth for the third successive race, with Raikkonen fifth, followed by Massa, Hamilton, the Toro Rosso pair of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr, with Valtteri Bottas completing the top ten.
Despite the numerous incidents, all 22 cars completed the race, with Jolyon Palmer for Renault the last of those to see the chequered flag.
So a dramatic Chinese Grand Prix. Mayhem on the opening lap with three champions receiving damage. The top drivers fighting back through the field and yet the championship leader extends the points lead with a great win.
Chinese Grand Prix, race results after 56 laps:
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1h38m53.891s
2 Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari 37.776s
3 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Racing 45.936s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 52.688s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari 1m05.872s
6 Felipe Massa Williams Martini Racing 1m15.511s
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1m18.230s
8 Max Verstappen Scuderia Toro Rosso 1m19.268s
9 Carlos Sainz Scuderia Toro Rosso 1m24.127s
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams Martini Racing 1m26.192s
11 Sergio Perez Sahara Force India F1 Team 1m34.283s
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1m37.253s
13 Jenson Button McLaren Honda 1m41.990s
14 Esteban Gutierrez Haas F1 Team 1 Lap
15 Nico Hulkenberg Sahara Force India F1 Team 1 Lap
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team 1 Lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault Sport F1 Team 1 Lap
18 Pascal Wehrlein Manor Racing MRT 1 Lap
19 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team 1 Lap
20 Felipe Nasr Sauber F1 Team 1 Lap
21 Rio Haryanto Manor Racing MRT 1 Lap
22 Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team 1 Lap
1 Nico Rosberg 75
2 Lewis Hamilton 39
3 Daniel Ricciardo 36
4 Sebastian Vettel 33
5 Kimi Raikkonen 28
6 Felipe Massa 22
7 Daniil Kvyat 21
8 Romain Grosjean 18
9 Max Verstappen 13
10 Valtteri Bottas 7
11 Nico Hulkenberg 6
12 Carlos Sainz 4
13 Stoffel Vandoorne 1
14 Kevin Magnussen 0
15 Sergio Perez 0
16 Jolyon Palmer 0
17 Marcus Ericsson 0
18 Fernando Alonso 0
19 Jenson Button 0
20 Pascal Wehrlein 0
21 Felipe Nasr 0
22 Esteban Gutierrez 0
23 Rio Haryanto 0
1 Mercedes 114
2 Ferrari 61
3 Red Bull-TAG Heuer 57
4 Williams-Mercedes 29
5 Haas-Ferrari 18
6 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 17
7 Force India-Mercedes 6
8 McLaren-Honda 1
9 Renault 0
10 Sauber-Ferrari 0
11 Manor-Mercedes 0
Next race: Russian Grand Prix, Sochi. April 29-May 1.