RACE: Ricciardo wins wild Chinese Grand Prix for Red Bull

RACE: Ricciardo wins wild Chinese Grand Prix for Red Bull

RACE: Ricciardo wins wild Chinese Grand Prix for Red Bull

A bold pass on Valtteri Bottas for the lead capped a stunning charge from Ricciardo after Red Bull opted to pit him during a safety vehicle for fresh tyres.

They may have lost a place apiece, but when the safety vehicle was recalled, their pace advantage over the Ferraris of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes' Bottas and Lewis Hamilton became clear.

It all seemed a very unlikely eventuality after the first few laps which were decidedly soporific by comparison.

To be fair to Raikkonen, despite his face-saving third-placed finish on a forgetful day for the Scuderia, you'd have to say no.

But as one Red Bull shone, the other clashed. Verstappen jumped Hamilton to go into third while Hamilton dropped to fifth.

Hamilton stopped for tires on lap 19, his team ordering him to do the opposite to Raikkonen in the hope of leapfrogging the Finn after his tire stop.

Free practice had suggested tyre wear would be a crucial factor in the Chinese Grand Prix, with Pirelli bringing the new ultra-soft tyres to the race, but nobody was sure just how long the tyres would last.

Verstappen pushed hard and managed to get ahead of Hamilton and Vettel but he couldn't catch Raikkonen, as the Ferrari went in search of compatriot Bottas.

His win makes him the first driver to beat Sebastian Vettel who won the Bahrain Grand Prix and Australian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo's iconic "Shoey" made a return to the podium as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team celebrated the victory together.

But everything got thoroughly mixed up when the Toro Rossos had a coming together on lap 31 and the safety vehicle was deployed. He was also left to rue the fact he stayed out on old tyres when the Red Bull drivers behind him ducked into the pits.

Daniel Ricciardo says his victory in the Chinese Grand Prix shows how "crazy" Formula 1 is after he almost missed qualifying on Saturday.

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The Brit was soundly beaten by Bottas in qualifying, and couldn't match his team-mate or Vettel for pace in the race. In the end, the top six all opted to change onto the durable medium tyre at the first stop but only Red Bull elected to switch onto the medium compound when the Safety Car came out.

"They are all pretty sweet but to be honest, until I got Valtteri I wasn't getting excited about any of them".

Ricciardo was on a mission, he passed Vettel on lap 43 thanks to his soft tires. His teammate Verstappen soon unsuccessfully attempted to follow suit and the two cars touched, dropping the Dutchman to fifth and Vettelto seventh.

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.

Hamilton, the four-time and defending champion, improved his season points total to 45.

In came Max Verstappen and Ricciardo, the only front-runners to do so.

Further down the field, Vettel was obviously suffering with a damaged vehicle, 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.

Meanwhile Raikkonen's team-mate Vettel was having problems of his own, with Nico Hulkenberg pulling away and Fernando Alonso closing.

Ricciardo was visibly aggressive - and impressive - out on track, in his attempts to claw back the time lost following an engine failure in qualifying.

It was a race the Australian had gone into expecting to challenge for the win.

Next up, the teams travel to Azerbaijan in two weeks time, where Ricciadrio took the win in 2017.

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