SHANGHAI (Reuters) - After holding on to win what he called a "racer's race" a fortnight ago in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton revelled in having the track to himself as he cruised to a hat-trick of victories in the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hamilton, who claimed his 25th career win to draw level with British great Jim Clark and his Mercedes team boss Niki Lauda, led every single lap of the shortened 54-lap race, at times pulling away from his rivals by over a second a lap.
"I'm so, so happy. I had such a great race, I really enjoyed it, particularly the last few laps," Hamilton said.
"(I was) Really trying to keep temperature in the tyres, pushing a little bit more, just to keep temperature up and the car was great."
Delighting in the formidable speed of his Mercedes, Hamilton, who crossed the line 18 seconds ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg, only lifted off briefly when the chequered flag was accidentally waved one lap early.
"It's incredible. I honestly can't believe how amazing the car is and how hard everyone has worked," he said.
"I was just really racing myself."
It was the 2008 world champion's first hat-trick of wins and moved him to within four points of team mate and title rival Rosberg in the championship standings.
It was Mercedes' third straight one-two finish and Hamilton was quick to pay tribute to the team he joined last year after six seasons at McLaren, who groomed him to compete in Formula One and gave him his first break.
"Well, this team is on a roll that's for sure," Hamilton said.
"The team have done a great job. We're going to keep pushing, we're going to keep moving forwards.
"The car was really good. I couldn't really have asked for more."
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Toby Davis)