Red Bull Racing's Ricciardo wins Chinese GP

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton

Race leader Valletri Bottas, in the Mercedes, and championship leader Sebastian Vettel had just passed the pitlane when the safety vehicle came out and were forced to go to the end on their sets of soft tyres.

Only a minor miracle by his hard-pressed mechanics allowed him to qualify sixth, putting Ricciardo in the right place at the right time to capitalise on the safety vehicle that swung the race Red Bull's way.

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas nabbed second place on the podium, despite being neck and neck with Ricciardo throughout the race ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari, third.

Max Verstappen admitted that he was "disappointed with [himself]" after a Chinese Grand Prix in which he received a ten-second penalty for a collision with Sebastian Vettel.

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

The rest of the points finishers were Hulkenburg in sixth, Sainz in ninth and the Haas of Magnussen grabbing the last point.

Further down the field, Vettel was obviously suffering with a damaged vehicle, as Fernando Alonso squeezed past the German on lap 55 to take seventh place, with the Ferrari driver complaining of having been pushed off the track.

With China coming hot on the heels of Bahrain the previous weekend, there were still stories from Sakhir to sort out - Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton eventually calling a truce after trading barbs following their on-track clash, Pierre Gasly explaining his subtle trolling of McLaren after finishing a career-best fourth (he admitted it was to give Honda credit), and plenty more besides. And so, having sparked a brief spat with Hamilton at the previous race in Bahrain, this week Verstappen found himself needing a chat with Vettel.

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"Put ourselves back 24 hours and I thought I might be starting from the back of the grid", Ricciardo said of Red Bull's engine troubles, which have plagued the team early in the season. He passed Hamilton and closed in on Bottas, but had to settle for third place in the end.

Still, Gasly's Red Bull paymasters won't be too upset, since the safety vehicle period to clean up the debris helped the senior team somewhat. "I just haven't had the pace since yesterday (Saturday), and I struggled with the vehicle".

"I don't think I have to say anything here", a disgusted Vettel was heard saying over the radio in an obvious reference to the Dutchman's aggressive style.

"We have been underperforming. (We were) thankful for a few incidents ahead that kept us 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. We have lost performance since Melbourne and maybe even more so this weekend.

"We were going pretty well and we were looking strong until the safety vehicle", he said.

"I had pace over all the guys I got ahead but you still don't want to sit behind for too long". The win also sees Red Bull consolidate their third place standing in the Constructors' Championship.

"This is racing, these things happen". "Once you get close it is so hard to follow people".

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