Sunday, 22 July, 2018

F1--Chinese Grand Prix, 3rd Ld-Writethru,638

Sublime Daniel Ricciardo charges to China win, Vettel eighth Daniel Ricciardo wins Chinese F1 GP
Cassandra Gardner | 16 April, 2018, 02:05

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas finished second while Kimi Raikkonen was third in a Ferrari.

Ricciardo made the most of a mid-race safety vehicle and race strategy to charge from sixth to the lead of the race and claim his and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing's first win of the year.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo believes his surprise Chinese Grand Prix win is proof that he can become a Formula One champion.

Before the start of the 15th edition of the Chinese Grand Prix, you could be forgiven for thinking the Red Bulls weren't in Shanghai for a win, let alone a podium finish. Max Verstappen has already come under fire this season for his over-aggressive driving style and once again it was on full display.

"We were going pretty well and we were looking strong until the safety vehicle", he said. The German quickly built up a lead of 2.5 seconds over Bottas, with Max Verstappen close behind in third, the Dutchman having made up two places thanks to the extra grip of his softer compound tires. Verstappen jumped Hamilton to go into third while Hamilton dropped to fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo celebrates after the Chinese Grand Prix.

Ricciardo during the mid-point of the race was in sixth position, while Sebastian Vettel, Bottas and Raikkonen were fighting up front.

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A week after claiming an incredible fourth place for Toro Rosso-Honda, Pierre Gasly didn't have such fun in Shanghai - colliding with team-mate Brendon Hartley mid-race. Bottas was able to make light work of Raikkonen with a slick pass around the outside of Turn 1, with Vettel soon following through, albeit still unable to get back ahead of the Mercedes driver.

"It's a fun way to win for sure", Ricciardo told Sky F1.

While Ricciardo's moves to rise to second had been spectacular, the Red Bull driver left the best until last. 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.

Verstappen was too far back to try a realistic move but he threw his auto down the inside at the apex, locked his rear wheels and slid into Vettel, earning a 10-second penalty from the stewards for causing a collision.

Nico Hulkenberg was a superb sixth for Renault, with Fernando Alonso getting his elbows out and squeezing Vettel, who was struggling with his tyres, off track in the opening sequence for seventh.

"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". Vettel was followed by Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen. "I'm thankful for a couple of incidents that kept us kind of in the battle".

"Saturday and Sunday felt like a disaster from my side", the Briton said, despite setting a record of 28 successive scoring finishes. "Once you get close it is so hard to follow people". I was expecting him to come earlier.

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