With five-time world champion Hamilton - victor in Bahrain two weeks ago - serene up top, the real battles unfolded behind him.
Grosjean said: "The car's unbelievable over one lap but as soon as we go two laps on the tyres, we're not there anymore, we need to understand exactly what happened".
He is now just 16 victories short of Michael Schumacher's all time record tally of 91.
The decision led to Leclerc losing fourth place to Max Verstappen's Red Bull. After all, his Finnish teammate had silenced his doubters- perhaps particularly those for whom he's a "Wingman"- by clinching the pole position.
"The vehicle has been really good this weekend and Lewis also improved a lot in qualifying, it was super close", said the flying Finn Bottas, who is beginning to climb out of the shadow of his more famous team-mate. Sunday, struggled in the first stint.
"I got some wheelspin when I went over the white line at the start-finish line which is immediately after my box so I lost it there".
Charles Leclerc, who had started fourth, passed Vettel on the run into the first corner, but was unable to put a gap between himself and the German. He pitted four laps later than his team-mate, but by this time he was in no-man's land, and he rejoined the circuit an eye-watering 11 seconds behind Vettel and Verstappen in fifth.
In the lead-up to the race, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said that Vettel remained the priority, but suggested that could change.
The last team to start a season with three successive one-twos was Williams, with Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese, in 1992. At least early in the season.
"I lost it on the start, honestly, shame about the start, I got some wheel spin on the start line", said Bottas, who also relinquished his hold on the standings after three races.
The 23-year-old Albon climbed gingerly out of his wrecked auto, but only after a huge scare that drew gasps from the crowd in Shanghai. But we just couldn't. I've not really looked into detail why they weren't as quick [in China].
"I was obviously pushing, trying to find the limits, but it should have been in qualifying not FP3 (third practice)", he said.
"I thought I was faster in the auto", he said. I answered that I felt I can.
It was a tactical decision by the Italian manufacturers to try and catch Mercedes.
"If there is a $30 million man and a $2.5 million man, then the hierarchy is already quite clear", pundit Toni Vilander told Finland's MTV.
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