Raikkonen also benefited after it initially looked like Ferrari had ruined his chances of a podium by keeping him out too long, but his late stop and the safety car’s arrival ensured he had fresh tires for the latter stages of the race.
Ferrari and Mercedes, who locked-out the first and second rows respectively, will both start the race on the more durable soft tyres, while both Red Bull’s are committed to starting with the ultrasofts.
Breakthrough: Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo celebrates on the podium in Shanghai.
Ricciardo took the restart from sixth place but picked off rivals one-by-one to grab the lead from Valtteri Bottas, and went on to record victory, the sixth of his Formula 1 career.
Lap 18: Hamilton pits for medium tyres and emerges fractionally ahead of Ricciardo after the Red Bull loses time behind Magnussen’s Haas. “They are all pretty fun but that was unexpected”. Verstappen made use of softer tyres than the front four on the grid to pass Hamilton at Turn 3 and Raikkonen at Turn 6 to position himself third by the end of the first lap. “Hopefully it’s short enough that the power doesn’t compromise the good start we could have”.
Ricciardo has won the Chinese GP 2018 after a thrilling race to the chequered flag in the final minutes. There’s no clear favorite and plenty of questions. Hamilton, in fourth, is ten seconds behind Vettel.
Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton came fourth at +16.985 and Sebastian Vettel surprisingly came in eighth at +35.286 after Max Verstappen suddenly felt like playing bumper cars.
Vettel had been on his way to a third win from three races this season until Red Bull’s Max Verstappen collided with the German while trying to pass him on lap 43, and the Ferrari driver had to contend with damaged tyres for the rest of the race.
Verstappen had a 10 seconds penalty applied post-race for causing the collision, dropping the Dutch youngster from fourth to fifth. Lewis Hamilton dropped back to fifth, as the first portion of the race passed without much incident.
Vettel seemingly control of the race with a lead of two seconds from Bottas.
The winning move, though, was that on Bottas for P1. I thought about pulling out… no I’m just kidding…
“Some of the issues I’ve had before, like close to the limiter and when I’m shifting and stuff it just doesn’t really work properly”. “Just depending on the conditions and whoever gets the tires and the set up right”. “I heard Safety Car and they said we are going to double stop, come. We have a different tire to start the race on so hopefully that will make things interesting”.
Nico Hulkenberg of Renault was sixth followed by Fernando Alonso of McLaren.
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.
What a difference a week makes.
Lap 56: Ricciardo crosses the line for victory.
“This sport’s insane”, he said. “Frustrated at the sport, frustrated at all the variables involved in the sport”, Ricciardo said. Sometimes I question why I chose this sport. “But then you have a day like this it’s worth all those bad ones”.