Ricciardo storms from sixth on the grid to score Chinese Grand Prix victory

Daniel Ricciardo charged from sixth to score a stunning first win of the 2018 Formula 1 season as Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel collided in a wild Chinese Grand Prix.

Bottas and Vettel were locked in their own battle for the win until Ricciardo and Verstappen pitted again for fresh, soft tyres during a safety car period just after the halfway mark as their rivals stayed on mediums.

Ricciardo then overtook his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton and Vettel in quick succession before executing a stunning pass on Bottas into the tight Turn 6 right-hander for the victory.

Bottas fought a rearguard action against the recovering Kimi Raikkonen to claim third, after Verstappen tipped Vettel into a spin at the hairpin with 14 laps to go.

Vettel had led from pole in the opening stint and built a lead of just over three seconds over Bottas, and Mercedes moved first on strategy by pitting Bottas on lap 19 of 56.

Ferrari reacted a lap later, but a great middle sector from Bottas helped him sweep past into Turn 1 as Vettel exited the pits.

Bottas consolidated that advantage over the next dozen laps until Vettel had a brief chance to attack when they caught Raikkonen, who was running a much longer opening stint.

Raikkonen kept Bottas behind into the hairpin at the end of the lap but was powerless to stop an aggressive attack from his fellow Finn around the outside of Turn 1 immediately after.

Vettel followed suit swiftly and put pressure on Bottas into Turn 6 but was rebuffed, and Bottas had eked back out of DRS range when the two Toro Rossos collided at the hairpin.

Pierre Gasly misjudged a move on Brendon Hartley and spun them both round, littering the track with broken carbon fibre and wing mirror glass that required a safety car in order to clear it up.

Verstappen and Ricciardo, who were running third and fifth either side of Hamilton after a good first stint on ultrasofts with the others on softs, immediately dived for the pits and rejoined fourth and sixth.

Ricciardo made short work of Raikkonen, who had only just switched to mediums before the safety car and also stayed out, before catching the squabbling Hamilton and Verstappen.

He passed his team-mate when Verstappen went off-track trying to pass Hamilton on the outside of Turn 7, then nailed Hamilton into the hairpin.

At this point Ricciardo was 2.8s off the lead, but he hacked into that gap and breezed past Vettel on the back straight using DRS.

Bottas had a small lock-up soon after Ricciardo was into second, and with 12 laps to go they were nose-to-tail.

Ricciardo acted swiftly into Turn 4, getting inside Bottas even though his rival defended and forcing him to concede the place.

From there he bolted clear to win by 8.8s as Bottas just about held off Raikkonen, who was given a free pass into third when Verstappen hit Vettel.

Verstappen had caught Vettel on lap 43 and tried an opportunistic move inside the hairpin as Vettel ran deep.

But the two collided when Vettel turned in and both spun in unison, delaying Hamilton in the process.

They rejoined but Verstappen picked up a 10s time penalty, so even though he recovered to fourth on the road he was dropped to fifth – behind Hamilton – in the results.

That was no consolation to Vettel, who fell to eighth at the flag after struggling post-contact and was passed by Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.

Behind Vettel, who was furious at Alonso’s aggressive pass through the Turn 1-2 complex, Carlos Sainz Jr and Kevin Magnussen completed the points finishers.

Race result

POSDRIVERCARLAPSGAP
1Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault561h35m36.380s
2Valtteri BottasMercedes568.894s
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari569.637s
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes5616.985s
5Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault5620.436s
6Nico HulkenbergRenault5621.052s
7Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Renault5630.639s
8Sebastian VettelFerrari5635.286s
9Carlos SainzRenault5635.763s
10Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari5639.594s
11Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes5644.050s
12Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes5644.725s
13Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Renault5649.373s
14Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes5655.490s
15Sergey SirotkinWilliams/Mercedes5658.241s
16Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari561m02.604s
17Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari561m05.296s
18Pierre GaslyToro Rosso/Honda561m06.330s
19Charles LeclercSauber/Ferrari561m22.575s
20Brendon HartleyToro Rosso/Honda51Not running

Drivers’ standings

POSDRIVERPOINTS
1Sebastian Vettel54
2Lewis Hamilton45
3Valtteri Bottas40
4Daniel Ricciardo37
5Kimi Raikkonen30
6Fernando Alonso22
7Nico Hulkenberg22
8Max Verstappen18
9Pierre Gasly12
10Kevin Magnussen11
11Stoffel Vandoorne6
12Carlos Sainz3
13Marcus Ericsson2
14Esteban Ocon1
15Sergio Perez0
16Charles Leclerc0
17Romain Grosjean0
18Lance Stroll0
19Sergey Sirotkin0
20Brendon Hartley0

Ricciardo storms from sixth on the grid to score Chinese Grand Prix victory

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