But it was a contest where VAR — being used for the first time in the premier League — played a prominent role.
The England star struck a sublime second-half treble after Gabriel Jesus prodded the defending champion ahead in the 25th minute of a one-sided affair at London Stadium.
Sterling's well-worked first goal came six minutes after the interval and while a VAR review found he was offside before Jesus tapped in, he did find the net again 15 minutes from time to put City beyond the Hammers' reach.
He could have added the third from the spot after Issa Diop fouled Riyad Mahrez but gifted the spot-kick to Sergio Aguero, which the substitute converted on a re-take, awarded after another VAR intervention.
Sterling was not to be denied the match ball as he raced clean through in stoppage-time to compound an embarrassing eighth straight defeat for the Hammers in competitive meetings with Pep Guardiola's men.