LONDON: Fernando Torres scored his first Chelsea hat-trick as the Blues thrashed Queens Park Rangers 6-1 to strengthen their bid for automatic qualification for next season's Champions League.
Torres scored twice in a first half that saw Chelsea 4-0 up in the 25th minute at Stamford Bridge, with Daniel Sturridge taking just 46 seconds to open the scoring and Chelsea captain John Terry on target as well.
Spain striker Torres completed his treble in the 64th minute.
Florent Malouda made it 6-0 in the 80th minute, before Djibril Cisse scored for QPR six minutes from time at Stamford Bridge.
Victory took Champions League finalists Chelsea up into fifth place, two points ahead of Tottenham, who were due to play relegation-threatened Blackburn later Sunday, and just a point behind fourth-placed Newcastle.
Only the top four clubs at the end of the Premier League season are due to qualify for next term's Champions League, although that number will be reduced to three if Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in this season's final.
Defeat left QPR above the relegation zone on goal difference alone, with two games of the season left.
Torres has struggled for much of his 15 months at Chelsea since his British record #50 million ($81 million) move from Liverpool.
For Chelsea, who overcame the handicap of having Terry sent off to record a remarkable 2-2 draw away to champions Barcelona on Tuesday that saw them into the Champions League final, this win over their west London rivals capped a memorable week.
It also set them up in style for Wednesday's match against Newcastle, which precedes Chelsea's FA Cup final clash against Liverpool at Wembley next weekend.
Sunday's game took place without the usual pre-match handshake ceremony after concerns it could affect Terry's July 9 court case over allegations he racially abused Ferdinand during QPR's victory over Chelsea in October.
Barely had the match kicked-off, then Sturridge had put Chelsea ahead with a curling shot from the edge of the box before Terry, whose red card on Tuesday means he will miss the Champions League final, made it 2-0 when he headed in Juan Mata's corner in the 13th minute.
Torres, who scored at the Camp Nou, added a third in the 19th minute when he latched onto Salomon Kalou's pass and beat Paddy Kenny.
And six minutes later Spain striker Torres had his second goal and Chelsea's fourth when he finished from close range after Nedum Onuoha's back header was too strong for Kenny to hold.
Chelsea had to 'wait' until the 64th minutes for Torres to complete his first hat-trick and 10 minutes from time Malouda made it 6-0.
Cisse pulled a goal back for QPR but it was scant consolation. (AFP)