F1 Chinese Grand Prix: Red Bull punish Ferrari, Mercedes

Aaron Brown
April 16, 2018

Verstappen pushed hard and managed to get ahead of Hamilton and Vettel but he couldn't catch Raikkonen, as the Ferrari went in search of compatriot Bottas.

Verstappen was still going and soon took overtook Hamilton for the second time to retake fourth place, though his time penalty meant the Dutchman ultimately finished in fifth place.

Daniel Ricciardo won Red Bull's first race of the 2018 season.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo believes his surprise Chinese Grand Prix win is proof that he can become a Formula One champion. He managed his tyres well in the opening stint, stayed patient amidst the chaos of the Safety Car period and executed his overtakes perfectly in the second half of the race.

It was at this point that Red Bull made the call to switch their cars to soft-compound tyres, whereas rivals Ferrari and Mercedes opted to remain on the medium equivalent.

Further back, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg at least knew where to line up on race day - he started seventh for the sixth straight race - while Bahrain standout Gasly fell back to earth with a thud, eliminated in Q1 and starting just 17th, behind Toro Rosso teammate Brendon Hartley.

"It was still an open race with the possibility to finish first and second but unfortunately I made some mistakes".

But it all started to change as the pit stops started, with Verstappen and both Mercedes the first of the leaders in and Ferrari leaving Vettel out for a couple of more laps. That was the beginning of the end for the German driver as on lap 30 following a collision between the two Toro Rosso cars, the safety auto was deployed just as the two leaders passed the pit entry. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +20,4366. Verstappen was ahead of teammate Ricciardo but he ran wide after an overtaking move on Hamilton went wrong, which allowed his teammate ahead.

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Finnish drivers Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top three, while Sebastian Vettel finished eighth.

"I've got to try and get myself back into normal performance mode or more valuable points will be lost", said Hamilton. The stewards agreed hitting the Red Bull driver with a 10-second penalty which would demote him to fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo took advantage of a tactical masterstroke by his Red Bull team to win in Shanghai after championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen dramatically collided during a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix.

In Mercedes' defence, Ferrari also chose not to pit Raikkonen, but both teams suffered as a result.

The 28-year-old has endured a frustrating campaign to date, with a fourth-place finish in Australia adding to his woes in the Gulf.

Strategy out the window: There was plenty of speculation about what the best strategy would be in China after the ultra-softs, for many teams, had failed to impress during Friday's race simulations.

Hamilton and Vettel, who were expected to be fighting it out for the world championship this term, were left in Ricciardo's wake.

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