Ricciardo wins thrilling Chinese GP

Red Bulls Daniel Ricciardo wins the Chinese GP ahead of Mercedes Valterri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen as Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel collide.

15/04/18

Grid Formation

1.Vettel  2.Raikkonen  3.Bottas  4.Hamilton  5.Verstappen  6.Ricciardo  7.Hulkenberg  8.Perez  9.Sainz  10.Grosjean  11.Magnussen  12.Ocon  13.Alonso  14.Vandoorne  15.Hartley  16.Sirotkin  17.Gasly  18.Stroll  19.Leclerc  20.Ericsson*

Ericsson* was given a 5 place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags in Q1

Race

Both Ferrari and Mercedes drivers will start on the Soft tyre with both Red Bulls will be starting on the Ultrasoft tyre. The lights go out and it’s a good start by the top 3 of Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Valterri Bottas. Out of turn 4, Vettel leads ahead of Bottas, Raikkonen, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Exiting turn 6, Verstappen goes round the outside of Raikkonen for 3rd. Meanwhile, it’s been a great start for Lance Stroll who is now 12th after starting 18th.

Behind the top 6, Nico Hulkenberg heads team-mate Carlos Sainz in 7th and 8th with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen rounding out the top 10. Lap 6, Grosjean and Magnussen swap places as Magnussen appears to be the faster Haas driver at the moment. Vettel’s lead ahead of Bottas is staying around 2.4s with Verstappen a further 4.6s behind Bottas on lap 10. At the end of lap 10, Brendon Hartley pits for the Medium tyre.

Lap 11, Esteban Ocon pits and goes onto the Soft tyre. Lap 12, Sainz pits, emerging on the Medium tyre.. Lap 13, Hulkenberg pits and goes onto the Medium tyre. Lap 17, Verstappen pits and rejoins on the Medium tyre with Ricciardo pitting behind on the Medium tyre as well. Lap 18, Hamilton pits and rejoins on the Medium tyre.

Lap 19, Bottas pits, rejoins on the Medium tyre and ahead of Verstappen. Lap 20, Vettel pits, rejoins on the Medium tyre and behind Bottas. The undercut has worked for Bottas who has jumped Vettel for the effective lead of the race. Ferrari have not pitted Raikkonen who now leads and when he does pit, he will rejoin in 6th. Lap 25, Vettel is now just 1 second behind Bottas who is just 2 seconds behind Raikkonen. Lap 27, Bottas overtakes Raikkonen round the outside of turn 1 & 2 but Raikkonen has a little look and holds back with Vettel getting past his Ferrari team-mate.

Lap 28, Raikkonen pits rejoins on the Medium tyre and out in 6th. Lap 29, Charles Leclerc spins at turn 1 but rejoins the race. Lap 20, the Toro Rosso team-mates collide as Pierre Gasly hits Hartley at turn 14. Hartley comes of worse but both continue on. The Safety Car has been deployed with Verstappen pitting, rejoining on the Soft tyre. Ricciardo follows in behind and also goes onto the Soft tyre. Both Force India drivers of Perez and Ocon pit as well.

The SC comes out as for the amount of debris at turn 14. Bottas leads ahead of Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Perez. Verstappen and Ricciardo have made the extra stop and therefore on fresher tyres. Lap 35, the SC comes in and racing continues. The Stewards have given Gasly a 10 second time penalty for the incident with Hartley.

Lap 37, Ricciardo overtakes Raikkonen for 5th down the inside of turn 14. Lap 39, Verstappen tries to overtake Hamilton round the outside of turn 7 but runs wide and Ricciardo nips past. Lap 40, with Ricciardo for company, Hamilton has to defend but Ricciardo dives down the inside of the Brit into turn 14. Lap 42, having composed for a couple of laps, Verstappen overtakes Hamilton down the inside of turn 6 for 4th.

Ricciardo, within DRS range, overtakes Vettel for 2nd down the long back straight before turn 14. Hamilton seems to be struggling and has got Raikkonen right behind him. Lap 43, Bottas locks-up going into turn 14 and behind Verstappen hits Vettel! Bottas holds onto the lead with Verstappen and Vettel spinning. Raikkonen is now 3rd after overtaking Hamilton. Vettel is now under serious pressure and is overtaken by Hulkenberg.

Lap 45, the Stewards are looking into the incident between Vettel and Verstappen with Ricciardo now only half a second behind Bottas. Down into turn 6, Bottas defends to the inside but somehow, Ricciardo is able to go down the inside to take the lead! What a move, Ricciardo now leads ahead of Bottas, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Verstappen, Hulkenberg and Vettel. Lap 46, the Stewards have awarded Verstappen with a 10 second time penalty.

Lap 38, Verstappen overtakes round the outside of Hamilton down into turn 6. As things are, with Verstappen ahead of Hamilton and Hulkenberg, Vettel would not be in the 10 second zone of Verstappen. Lap 53, Hartley is in the pits and is out of the race. The battle for 2nd is on with Bottas holding off Raikkonen and Verstappen. Lap 55, Fernando Alonso overtakes Vettel round the outside of turn 3. Lap 56, Ricciardo comes round the final corner to win the Chinese GP with Bottas and Raikkonen rounding out the top 3.

Verstappen was demoted to 4th after finishing 3rd on the track after his 10 second time penalty was applied.

Race Result

  1. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 56 Laps (6th GP win, Fans Driver of the Day & DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +8.894s (100th GP start)
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +9.637s
  4. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +16.985s (28th consecutive points finish)
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +20.436s
  6. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, +21.052s
  7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, +30.639s
  8. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +35.286s
  9. Carlos Sainz, Renault, +35.763s
  10. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +39.594s
  11. Esteban Ocon, Force India, +44.050s
  12. Sergio Perez, Force India, +44.725s
  13. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, +49.373s
  14. Lance Stroll, Williams, +55.490s
  15. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, +58.241s
  16. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, +62.604s
  17. Romain Grosjean, Haas, +65.296s
  18. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, +66.330s
  19. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, +82.575s
  • Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, DNF

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