Ricciardo wins dramatic Chinese GPposted in F115 | 04 | 2018

    RED BULL’S DANIEL Ricciardo, starting sixth on the grid, stormed to a stunning victory in the Chinese Grand Prix as his team-mate Max Verstappen collided with the Ferrari of world championship leader Sebastian Vettel. (Related: Vettel holds on to win Bahrain GP)

    Twenty-four hours before taking the chequered flag, Ricciardo only managed to join Saturday’s qualifying session with two minutes remaining are his crew was forced to fit a new engine to his Red Bull. Not surprisingly, the Aussie was ecstatic with his Chinese takeaway.

    “That was awesome," a delighted Ricciardo said. "We really thought we were going to start the race from the back, just over 24 hours later to be here now ... this sport's crazy.

    "A week ago I was with my head down after two laps. Frustrated at the sport, frustrated at all the variables that are involved in the sport.

    Red-Bull-China-2.jpg

    "Sometimes I questioned why I chose this sport because there are so many other things outside your control. It does get you down a lot. But when you have a day like this it's worth 50 of those bad ones."

    Polesitter Vettel dominated the opening phase of the race, comfortably establishing a three-second lead over the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. At the first round of pitstops the Finn jumped the Ferrari to take the lead on lap 19 of 56.

    But as Vettel closed the gap, to less than a second, the Safety car was deployed to allow marshals to clear debris on track after the two Toro Rosso cars inexplicably collided at Turn 1.

    Red-Bull-China-3.jpg

    The timing of the Safety Car was untimely for the two leaders, as they had passed the pit entry. Red Bull, however, were able to pit both Verstappen and Ricciardo for the quicker soft compound tyres.

    Unleashed with less than half the race remaining, Ricciardo overtook his team-mate, the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Vettel’s Ferrari in quick succession . The Aussie then executed a stunning pass on Bottas into the tight Turn 6 right-hander for the victory.

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    The Finn, who had started third on the grid, fought a rearguard action against the recovering Kimi Raikkonen to claim second ahead of the Ferrari driver, after Verstappen tipped Vettel into a spin at the hairpin with 14 laps to go.

    The young Dutchman caught Vettel on lap 43 and tried to make an opportunistic move down the inside as the two cars approached the hairpin. Vettel initially appeared to run deep, and as the Red Bull darted down the inside, the two collided when Vettel turned in. Both cars spun in unison, delaying Hamilton in the process.

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    Both cars were quick to rejoin the action, but Verstappen was handed a 10sec time penalty for causing the accident. Even though he recovered to fourth on the road he was dropped to fifth — behind Hamilton — in the results.

    But the unquestioned star of the day was Ricciardo. Having pitted for the soft tyres, the Aussie was at his dazzling, buccaneering best.

    After exiting the pits, he  quickly made short work of Raikkonen before catching the squabbling Hamilton and Verstappen. When the Dutchman went offtrack trying to pass Hamilton on the outside of Turn 7, Ricciardo took advantage. He then took Hamilton with a stunning last-second controlled lunge as they entered the Hairpin.

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    Ricciardo was 2.8s off the lead, but hequickly slashed the gap and breezed past Vettel on the back straight using DRS.

    Next-up was race leader, Bottas. With 12 laps remaining, they were nose-to-tail. But the inevitable was just round the corner. Ricciardo dated down the inside of the Mercedes at Turn 4, even though his rival defended stoutly.

    The Aussie then proceeded to cruise to the sixth grand prix of victory of his career, establishing an 8.8s gap. Bottas held off fellow countryman Raikkonen for second, with Hamilton promoted to fourth after Verstappen received his 10s penalty. The Dutchman was fifth.

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    And while the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso's McLaren finished sixth and seventh respectively, it was a frustrated Vettel who limped in eighth. Renault’s Carlos Sainz  and the Haas of Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10.

    Formula 1 — Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai International Circuit, (Result):

    1. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 56 laps, 1hr 35m 36.380s

    2. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +8.894s

    3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari +9.637s

    4. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +16.985s

    5. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +20.436s*

    6. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team +21.052s

    7. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team +30.639s

    8. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari +35.286s

    9. Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team +35.763s

    10. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team +39.594s

    11. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India F1 Team +44.050s

    12. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India F1 Team +44.725s

    13. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team +49.373s

    14. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing +55.490s

    15. Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing +58.241s

    16. Marcus Ericsson SWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team +1m 02.604s

    17. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team +1m 05.296s

    18. Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda +1m 06.330s

    19. Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team +1m 22.575s

    *10-second time penalty for causing a collision

    Retired:

    Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro

    Drivers’ Standings (After round 3 of 21)

    1. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari 54 points

    2. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 45 points

    3. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 40 points

    4. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 37 points

    5. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari 30 points

    6. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team 22 points

    7. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team 22 points

    8. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 18 points

    9. Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 12 points

    10. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team 11 points

    Red-Bull-China-9.jpg

    Related: Shedden makes solid start in Morocco

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    Jim McGill

    Photographs: Copyright Red Bull F1

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