Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain brought the victory for Mercedes GP in Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix of China, beating second-placer Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari by 6.2 seconds at Shanghai International Circuit.
The 32-year-old Hamilton, a former McLaren driver, had won the championship twice with Mercedes.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull finished at third place.
Vettel, last month's winner of season-opening race in Australia, acknowledged that he cannot discount Hamilton, whom he tried to chase in a very exciting race. Once Vettel had worked his way behind Hamilton, the two were exchanging lap times, seven or eight seconds apart.
Hamilton, who described their race as "very, very close," noted that there were times when Vettel put laps in, "it was hard to even match the time."
It was the same in Australia two weeks ago, when Vettel proved to be quicker on the softer tires in the opening stint, and pressured Hamilton into an early stop that cost Mercedes the race. But on the harder tires, the race was much tighter.
Hamilton's performance is affected by Mercedes being slightly over the weight limit, which is not a problem for Ferrari.
The Briton noted that since his Mercedes is longer, "it's probably more stable in the higher-speed corners," while the Ferrari "is shorter, more nimble."
This means that while the Mercedes has the advantage at high-speed tracks, the Ferrari can beat it in slower, more technical places.
Meanwhile, Verstappen started at the 16th position but was already breathing down Hamilton's neck as the cars neared lap 33. He compared the experience of overtaking nine cars on the first lap to "like playing a video game."
In fact, Hamilton is curious about how Verstappen traversed the wet tracks with ease. He said we he will take a look at the videos to see what Verstappen has "been doing."
Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull finished fourth, followed by Finland's Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.
At sixth was Valtteri Bottas (Finland) of Mercedes, with Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain) at seventh and Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) of Haas-Ferrari at eighth.
Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon of Force India finished at ninth and 10th, respectively.