CHINESE GP - RACE - RE-CAP & RESULTS
Tyre strategy was crucial in China and, when a collision between the Toro Rossos of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley brought out the safety car Red Bull gambled with a late pit stop that put Ricciardo and team-mate Max Verstappen on fresh soft tyres.
Verstappen and Ricciardo had been running third and fifth before the safety car but both were able to storm through the order after putting on fresh tyres.
A number of clean, decisive overtakes put Ricciardo in the lead with about 10 laps remaining. From there, he quickly distanced himself from the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and finished nearly nine seconds ahead of the rest of the field. The victory comes a day after an engine failure almost left him unable to qualify.
Verstappen was also performing bold overtakes to join Ricciardo at the front of the field, but the younger Red Bull driver was much less clean. Trying to find a way past Sebastian Vettel for third, Verstappen made contact with the Ferrari, sending both drivers into a spin and allowing Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton past. Both drivers were able to continue, but Vettel dropped down the order, eventually finishing seventh. Verstappen was handed a 10 second penalty, but managed to build up the gap to Nico Hulkenberg in sixth so it didn’t impact his decision.
Vettel had held the race lead early, ahead of Bottas and Raikkonen, but the Mercedes managed to get ahead in the pit stops. Bottas held the position before the safety car but couldn’t put up any challenge to Ricciardo when the Red Bull arrived.
Raikkonen put pressure on Bottas in the closing stages of the race, but was unable to run close enough to make a move. The pair finished second and third, both taking their second podiums of the season.
Hamilton, who was left frustrated when he didn’t pit during the safety car, finished fourth ahead of Verstappen and Hulkenberg.
An alternative pit stop strategy that saw Fernando Alonso pit after every other driver allowed the McLaren driver to finish seventh ahead of Vettel and Carlos Sainz, who tried to challenge the Ferrari in the final laps.
Kevin Magnussen was the final points finisher ahead of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.
Brendon Hartley was the only retirement. Both Toro Rossos survived their collision, with the safety car only brought out so marshals could clear debris, but Hartley was forced to pit with five laps remaining due to a gearbox problem
1. Daniel Ricciardo / Red Bull Racing-TAG-Heuer / + 25 Points
2. Valtteri Bottas / Mercedes-Mercedes / Finland / + 18 Points
3. Kimi Raikkonen / Ferrari-Ferrari / Finland / + 15 Points
4. Lewis Hamilton / Mercedes-Mercedes / Great Britain / + 12 Points
5. Max Verstappen / Red Bull Racing-TAG-Heuer / + 10 Points*
6. Nico Hulkenberg / Renault-Renault / Germany / + 8 Points
7. Fernando Alonso / McLaren-Renault / Spain / + 6 Points
8. Sebastian Vettel / Ferrari-Ferrari / Germany / + 4 Points
9. Carlos Sainz / Renault-Renault / Spain / + 2 Points
10. Kevin Magnussen / Haas-Ferrari / Denmark / + 1 Point
11. Esteban Ocon / Force India-Mercedes / France
12. Sergio Perez / Force India-Mercedes / Mexico
13. Stoffel Vandoorne / McLaren-Renault / Belgium
14. Lance Stroll / Williams-Mercedes / Canada
15. Sergey Sirotkin / Williams-Mercedes / Russia
16. Marcus Ericsson / Sauber-Ferrari / Sweden
17. Romain Grosjean / Haas-Ferrari / France
18. Pierre Gasly / Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda / France**
19. Charles Leclerc / Sauber-Ferrari / Monaco
RETIRED - Brendon Hartley / Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda / New Zealand / Gearbox
* - (Gasly) 10-Second-Time-Penalty for causing a collision with Hartley
** - (Verstappen) 10-Second-Time-Penalty for causing a collision with Vettel
Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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