Formula One : Daniel Ricciardo wins Chinese GP

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton

As Vettel and Bottas stayed out, Red Bull pulled some strategic magic by bringing both Verstappen and teammate Ricciardo - who had been running fifth when the Safety Car was called - into the pits immediately, fitting the pair with Soft tyres.

Sunday's win was the sixth of Ricciardo's career and all have been characterised by breathtaking and sometimes hairy overtaking manoeuvres, with the win taken from under the noses of others. No one could have ever predicted that after the way the team has dominated F1 since 2014 and the form they showed in pre-season testing.

The next stop is in Azerbaijan for the Grand Prix which is scheduled to hold on Sunday, April 29. No one could have ever predicted what has gone down as one of the most tense, unpredictable and thrilling F1 races ever.

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.

As the Red Bulls charged, Hamilton pointed out to his team in the pits that they had been caught out by not stopping to change what was the slowest tyre which already had significant life on it.

But that shouldn't eschew Bottas' magnificent effort in, first, passing third-placed Kimi Raikkonen in the opening lap, and then defending an attack from his fellow Finn in the final corners. It resulted in Gasly punting the right-rear section of his teammate's vehicle, which resulted in many bits of sharp carbon-fibre being strewn all over that section of the race track.

But everything got thoroughly mixed up when the Toro Rossos had a coming together on lap 31 and the safety auto was deployed. And that is where the race turned on its head. He was promoted to fourth after the Red Bull driver's penalty was applied.

With faster tyres that were also ten laps fresher than that of the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers that they were chasing and little time lost due to pitting under the safety vehicle period, Verstappen and Ricciardo were suddenly placed with a genuine shot at an unlikely victory.

The collision that saw the safety vehicle deployed was deemed to be Pierre Gasly's fault, and he was given a ten-second penalty.

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He took the lead on the 45th lap, overtaking Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes - one of several impressive overtakes from the Australian.

Ricciardo got past Vettel at turn 14 on lap 42, showing off his supreme skill under braking, and Verstappen tried to follow suit a lap later.

Mercedes' world champion Lewis Hamilton finished in the points for a record 28th successive race. 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. Raikkonen took a few good looks but ultimately was just under 0.8 seconds behind Bottas at the finish with Verstappen another 0.8 seconds behind him on the road.

Verstappen carried on, but picked up a ten-second penalty that dropped him to fifth.

Verstappen was spotted after the race speaking with Vettel following their collision, and he said: "I could see him struggling with his tyres, I braked late, locked the rears and hit him".

And the Spaniard took Vettel in the penultimate lap to cap a awful day for the championship leader.

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

Championship leader and pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel led until the first set of tyre stops before dropping back to finish eighth after a collision with Red Bull's Max Verstappen. He finished fourth instead.

Ricciardo drove aggressively as well, taking advantage of the tyre change during the safety auto to dart past Hamilton, Vettel and then Bottas in relatively short order to take a lead he would not relinquish.

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