Lewis Hamilton struck back at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, beating chief rival Sebastian Vettel to claim his fifth win on the Shanghai International Circuit and 54th success of his fantastic career.

The Brit has now won three of the last four races in China and levels the scores with Vettel, both in wins and points for the season. Max Verstappen's excellent run to third spot was encouraging for Red Bull Racing.

Lewis strikes back

From the moment he arrived in Shanghai last week, there only ever looked like being one winner of this Grand Prix and it was Hamilton.

He showed the confidence and happiness within the car that was lacking at times during the Australian Grand Prix.

He is the king of qualifying and fast closing in on the all-time pole position record. He didn't put a foot wrong all weekend, sounded much calmer on the radio when it came to discussing about pit strategy and looked totally comfortable within his surroundings.

Hamilton is enjoying the new cars. He's admitted they are a thrill to drive and the results are clear to see. Although he had control of the race, Ferrari still looked a formidable threat.

Vettel looked strong in qualifying and the team's decision to pit the German during an early Virtual Safety Car period looked like a risk that would pay off.

Unfortunately, Antonio Giovinazzi stuck his Sauber into the wall for the second times in two days and brought the Safety Car out. This meant Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and both Red Bulls could effectively have a free pitstop and leapfrog Vettel.

The four-time world champion demonstrated he can overtake with stunning passes into turn six on his teammate Raikkonen and former colleague Daniel Ricciardo.

He is pumped up for the challenge against Hamilton and the ingredients are in place for a titanic battle this season.

Is Max the new leader at Red Bull?

Things looked grim for Max Verstappen on Saturday. An engine problem in Q1 left him back in 17th on the grid; his worst start for Red Bull. As ever, he turned a negative to a positive and his performance on Sunday was superb.

You won't see many better first laps than his at Shanghai. He weaved and dived through the pack and completed lap one in eighth spot, overtaking nine drivers! Clever strategy and an opportunistic move on teammate Ricciardo had him up in second spot in the tricky conditions and although he couldn't hold back Vettel, the final podium spot was his.

Ricciardo might have been in his mirrors in the closing stages but Verstappen showed his composure to defend successfully without doing anything risky. He finished 2016 stronger than Ricciardo after the Aussie's win in Malaysia and has started 2017 as the new team leader at Red Bull.

It will be a performance that gives him the momentum over Ricciardo at the moment.

Daniel will want to turn that around and quickly.

Practice washout

Friday was not a great day for Formula One. Poor visibility and rain meant the practice sessions were effectively cancelled. Instead of three hours' running, the most anyone got was 20 minutes as the medical helicopter couldn't take off, meaning no track action could take place.

There were fears of similar conditions on Sunday, although this would turn out to be unfounded. Hamilton was quite vocal about the subject on social media, urging the sport's new owners, Liberty Media to experiment with new weekend procedures.

Friday on an F1 weekend has never been a great spectacle since 2004, when Friday single-lap qualifying was ditched.

It might not be top of Liberty Media's list to address immediately but should be on an action criteria for the future because the fans who went to Shanghai for Friday practice had a complete waste of a trip.

Alonso shows his class

It is extremely sad to see Fernando Alonso in his current predicament. Still considered one of the best drivers' in the sport, 11 years have now passed since his second title with Renault back in 2006. And he has no hope again this season.

The McLaren he has received in 2017 is woeful. Several years have now passed since the design team at Woking have come up with a race-winning car and they aren't helped by an alliance with Honda that looks like it was a disastrous mistake.

Winter testing was almost non-existent and laughable. There were fears this once great team that created world champions of the past would be the backmarkers in Melbourne.

That hasn't quite happened because of Alonso's genuine class. He himself has said he is driving "like an animal!" He was on course for a morale-boosting eighth place in Shanghai before a driveshaft failure just after half-distance.

He needs a race-winning car again but sadly, it won't happen with McLaren.

Only one short week passes before F1 regroups in Bahrain for round three in the enticing battle between Hamilton and Vettel.