Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has taken victory in an action-packed Chinese Grand Prix. The race, which saw many accidents allowed the Australian to move into the lead early on under the safety car, before losing the lead to Valtteri Bottas after the first round of stops.
Ricciardo retook the lead following a crash between the Toro Rosso’s of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley. The two crashed into each other bringing out the safety car, that triggered a round of pit stops and made Ricciardo a threat to Bottas.
After the race, both drivers admitted the crash was the result of a “miscommunication” over a planned position change.
The Mercedes driver had already used the undercut to get ahead of Sebastian Vettel at the first round of stops. Bottas had led through the earlier part of the race before Mercedes brought him in for his stop on lap nineteen.
When the Finn re-joined he began to put pressure on Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari reacted to his pit stop on the following lap giving him the lead.
Bottas remained in the lead until the collision between the Toro Rosso’s on lap thirty. He then locked his tyres, forcing him to defend the position from the Red Bull.
That allowed Verstappen into the lead, however when the Dutchman tired on the restart to pass Vettel and Lewis Hamilton he ran wide. Later on in the race, Verstappen and Vettel would collide as they fought for fourth place with thirteen laps to go.
The Dutchman was awarded a ten-second penalty, which promoted Hamilton into fourth. The two simultaneous spun, holding up Hamilton. Vettel was unable to recover then he lost out to McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in the first few corners.
If the German was already angry, he was now furious after losing out to the Spaniard. He had another Spaniard Carlos Sainz now behind, the Renault driver tried to pass Vettel on the last lap but failed.
Verstappen admitted that the collision was his fault telling Sky Sports “I could see him struggling on the tyres and tried to brake late into the corner. I locked the rears a bit and hit him. That was of course my fault.”
With twelve laps to go, Ricciardo was up the back of the Mercedes, when Red Bull made the decisive move, at turn four. The Red Bull took the lead going down the inside of Bottas, before opening up nearly a nine second lead.
Hamilton has admitted the team has been under performing and said “I need to try and rectify that and get myself back into normal performance back or otherwise more valuable points will be lost. I’m thankful for a couple of incidents that happened ahead kept us in the battle.”
Nico Hulkenberg was best of the rest the Renault driver using the same strategy as the Red Bull’s to take sixth place. Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen completed the top ten.
The Force India’s were just outside the points, with Esteban Ocon ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez. Haas’s strong start to the season wouldn’t continue, while Kevin Magnussen took the final point, his teammate Romain Grosjean finished seventeenth.
- Notebook – Chinese Qualifying
- Chinese GP – Qualifying Result
- CHINESE GP – Vettel pips Raikkonen to pole in Shanghai as Mercedes struggle to match Ferrari pace
- Notebook – Chinese Practice
- CHINESE GP – Hamilton narrowly outpaces Raikkonen despite errors in second practice
- CHINESE GP – Hamilton fastest throughout first practice as Vettel struggles to match Raikkonen
- TFTV – China
- Data Profile – Chinese Grand Prix
- Prixview – Chinese Grand Prix