It was Daniel Ricciardo who made the most of yet another safety-car affected race, winning the Chinese Grand Prix with a series of daring overtaking moves, picking off the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, and Valtteri Bottas on his way to victory, the sixth of his F1 career.
It was Championship leader Sebastian Vettel that took first blood, however, claiming pole position – his 52nd in F1. Ricciardo meanwhile only just made it in to qualifying at all, his Red Bull team finishing an engine change with just three minutes of Q1 to spare, the Australian eventually lining up in sixth on the grid.
Vettel left it until the death, the German nicking pole from Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen as he passed the chequered flag, setting a fastest lap as he did it. Bottas and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton locked out the second row, while Max Verstappen lined up just ahead of the sister Red Bull of Ricciardo. Nico Hulkenberg [Renault], Sergio Perez [Force India], Carlos Sainz [Renault], and Romain Grosjean [Haas] rounded out the top ten on the grid.
Vettel lead from the start, but Raikkonen lost a place to Bottas in to the first corner, while Verstappen jumped Hamilton for fourth. Bottas claimed Vettel after the latter’s pit-stop on lap twenty-one, while a move on Raikkonen on lap twenty-seven gave the Finn the lead of the race.
It was the Torro Rosso’s of Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly coming together on lap thirty that brought out the safety-car, and the Red Bull team reacted fastest, bringing in Verstappen and Ricciardo for fresh rubber, while the leaders continued.
Ricciardo never looked back. With a series of brave overtakes seeing him claim six places over the remaining twenty laps, claiming the lead from Valterri Bottas with eleven laps to go. Bottas and Raikkonen following the Red Bull on to the podium, with Hamilton and Verstappen completing the top five.
Daniel Ricciardo had this to say: “Over the moon, every win has been crazy for me, I feel like I haven’t really had a boring win yet. It sinks in but it doesn’t, I nearly make myself dizzy because I’m going over the whole thing. I’m emotional, there’s a lot going on, but I can certainly enjoy it. My heart is full, I’m stoked”.
- Daniel RicciardoAUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 56 laps, 1hr 35m 36.380s
- Valtteri BottasFIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +8.894s
- Kimi RaikkonenFIN Scuderia Ferrari +9.637s
- Lewis HamiltonGBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +16.985s
- Max VerstappenNED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +20.436s*
- Nico HulkenbergGER Renault Sport Formula One Team +21.052s
- Fernando AlonsoESP McLaren F1 Team +30.639s
- Sebastian VettelGER Scuderia Ferrari +35.286s
- Carlos Sainz Jr. ESPRenault Sport Formula One Team +35.763s
- Kevin MagnussenDEN Haas F1 Team +39.594s
- Esteban OconFRA Sahara Force India F1 Team +44.050s
- Sergio PerezMEX Sahara Force India F1 Team +44.725s
- Stoffel VandoorneBEL McLaren F1 Team +49.373s
- Lance StrollCAN Williams Martini Racing +55.490s
- Sergey SirotkinRUS Williams Martini Racing +58.241s
- Marcus EricssonSWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team +1m 02.604s
- Romain GrosjeanFRA Haas F1 Team +1m 05.296s
- Pierre GaslyFRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda +1m 06.330s
- Charles LeclercMON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team +1m 22.575s
*10-second time penalty for causing a collision
Did not finish
Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 51 laps