Shanghai: Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull won the Chinese Grand Prix of the Formula One championship on Sunday in hugely impressive style, surging from sixth place as he took advantage of multiple incidents to leapfrog over his rivals.
Ricciardo drove beautifully to pass five cars after Red Bull chose to pit for fresh tyres in a safety auto period. There was his move on Raikkonen which got his charge through the front group underway, the dive on Lewis Hamilton into Turn 14 was special as was when he breezed by Vettel into the same corner but his pass on Bottas into Turn 6 to take the lead was pure class and one worthy of victory. "They seem to be pretty fun".
With 11 laps remaining, Ricciardo snatched victory from Bottas on his fresher tyres.
"I always knew there was enough room and my tyres had pretty good grip so worse case I'd go wide and have another go".
"At the rate we were going through the field, and I could feel the tyres were holding on well, I was obviously fully set on the win".
Daniel Ricciardo at the post-race press conference: "Once I was aware we had the pace I wasn't going to let it slip".
There is a two-week break before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where the long, long straight is likely to leave Red Bull breathless and make Ferrari favourites. He finished fourth instead.
Starting from P6, the Australian produced a majestic performance for his first win of the season - a week after retiring on the second lap in Bahrain.
But it all started to change as the pit stops started, with Verstappen and both Mercedes the first of the leaders in and Ferrari leaving Vettel out for a couple of more laps. Verstappen was forced to take evasive action and go off the track as Hamilton took the normal racing line, resulting in him dropping behind Ricciardo who was shadowing the pair looking for an opportunity. Bottas has 40 points in third place and Ricciardo is fourth with 37.
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"I guess the plan was to still hold off a little bit [on negotiations]", he said.
Valtteri Bottas, who finished second: "The race was going pretty well for us and we were looking strong until the safety vehicle".
"It's so close between Red Bull, Ferrari and us", he said.
Bottas stopped on the following lap and emerged into clear air just ahead of Verstappen.
"We lost the win in the end, [but] we were still the first auto to do the one-stop so that was good". "We were giving everything we had and it kind of felt like we deserved victory".
Further down the field, Vettel was obviously suffering with a damaged auto, as Fernando Alonso squeezed past the German on lap 55 to take seventh place, with the Ferrari driver complaining of having been pushed off the track. The 35 points netted by Red Bull in China sees them take third place with 55 points with McLaren fourth on 28 points (22 of those courtesy of Alonso).
"This sport's insane", he said.
"A week ago I was with my head down after two laps on Sunday".