Lewis Hamilton takes 5th F1 China Grand Prix title of his career

However both Vettel and Hamilton stayed out on track on intermediates.

The victory enhanced the Briton's reputation as one of Formula One's greats as he moved closer to Michael Schumacher in a number of different areas.

Hamilton, who would've conceded the lead to his rival, was saved, when Sauber's Antonio Giovinazzi crashed for the second time on the track and the safety vehicle was put out. First Vettel blew past Raikkonen before going wheel-to-wheel with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo at turn seven, producing puffs of blue smoke as the cars touched tyres.

After a wet start, Hamilton led the opening lap from Vettel and Bottas but the deployment of the virtual safety auto following a crash by Williams rookie Lance Stroll, punted off by Force India's Sergio Perez, prompted Vettel and most of the midfield runners to pit for dry tyres on lap two. The German was unable to reel in Hamilton, though, who was showing good pace and had pulled out a considerable margin over the rest of the pack in clean air.

Vettel, however, found himself stuck behind Ricciardo and the slower Raikkonen, even as Hamilton increased the gap at the front.By the time Vettel managed to get past, Hamilton was too far ahead.Raikkonen crossed the line a frustrated fifth.Bottas finished sixth.

Bottas apologised to his team for an embarrassing spin while weaving to warm his tyres behind the safety auto, which dropped him down to 12th. "I am looking forward to the fight with Sebastian and the other guys are going to be in amongst it".

Valtteri Bottas insists he is now "very close" to matching Lewis Hamilton in terms of pure pace at Mercedes despite a disappointing Chinese Grand Prix weekend hampered by a clumsy spin that left him sixth at the chequered flag.

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has suggested the team should sit down for talks with Kimi Raikkonen following the veteran Finn's underwhelming start to the 2017 Formula One season. Hamilton said. "And then in the race it was just keeping my composure".

That gave Hamilton the ability to retain the lead and hold off the pack for the remainder of the race.

The Brit never let anyone get close to him as he motored towards his first win of 2017 ahead of Vettel.

"I really hope it is an out-and-out fight through stubbornness, through mental stability, through fitness, composure and through just out-driving the person on track".

Next up is the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

After the race Raikkonen voiced his frustration with his strategy and made it clear "much more" would have been possible if he had been allowed to pit when he wanted to.