Ricciardo has won the Chinese GP 2018 after a thrilling race to the chequered flag in the final minutes. Ricciardo gained ground after pitting under the safety car, switching to softs while the top runners stayed out with mediums. The soft tires paid in the end, as both Ricciardo and Verstappen had incredible pace in the final minutes.
Bottas was lead the race, after undercutting Ferrari but he was no match for Ricciardo’s pace. The Aussie made his way through to P1 after taking out Verstappen, Hamilton, Vettel and Bottas.
The top ten comprised of 1.Ricciardo; 2 Bottas; 3 Raikkonen; 4 Hamilton; 5 Verstappen; 6 Hulkenberg; 7 Alonso; 8 Vettel; 9 Sainz; 10 Magnussen.
The formation lap of the the Chinese Grand Prix 2018 went smoothly, with Vettel and Raikkonen leading the field from the front low, followed by Bottas, Hamilton, Verstappen and Ricciardo.
Vettel made a great start, while Raikkonen got blocked allowing Bottas to jump into second. Verstappen jumped Hamilton to go into third while Hamilton dropped to fifth.
Ready to go at #ChineseGP. Track temperatures are much higher than they have been over the previous two days, which will be the biggest influence on the strategy here. This is unknown territory, as all the running so far has taken place in cool weather.
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) April 15, 2018
By lap 9/56 Bottas was 2.4s behind Vettel who had already set a fastest time of the race, Verstappen meanwhile had dropped down and was 7s further back from the lead. “I’m starting to lose the pace guys. Kimi is quite aggressive” Hamilton said over the radio, but the team urged him to keep his head down.
Hartley was the first to pit on lap 11, changing from ultrasoft to the medium compound. Verstappen and Ricciardo made their stops on lap 18 and switched to mediums, they returned in fifth and seventh respectively. Hamilton also came in for new tires, the Briton took mediums as well.
Bottas also made his stop in the next lap, and came out ahead of Verstappen. Ferrari brought in Vettel too but fell to the curse of the undercut, he emerged behind Bottas!
YESSSSS!!! Bottas LEADS in China! 👊
What a stop! What an out lap!! #DrivenByEachOther 🇨🇳 #ChineseGP pic.twitter.com/8x0Xm0rT1j
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) April 15, 2018
By lap 29, Bottas had opened a 1.2s lead over Vettel. Raikkonen who lost the lead to Bottas made his pitstop and emerged in P7. His race had ultimately been compromised by strategy.
Yellow flags then flew at the hairpin after the Toro Rosso cars collided. A safety car was deployed shortly after that to help clear the debris on the track. Gasly and Hartley were now under investigation for that collision. The Red Bulls pitted under the safety car and picked up new softs. The Renaults and Force Indias also made their stops.
The restart on lap 36 was smooth and Bottas managed to pull away quickly, a 1.7s lead over Bettel. The top runners were not affected by the restart. Gasly was then given a 10s penalty for hitting his teammate Hartley. Ricciardo managed to pass Raikkonen on lap 38 to take fifth.
LAP 36/56: We're racing again! #ChineseGP 🇨🇳 #F1 pic.twitter.com/XxxgQUQcIz
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 15, 2018
Verstappen tried passing Hamilton but ended up going off the track, he lost a place to Ricciardo in that move. “let’s get Hamilton” Red Bull told Ricciardo who appeared to be on a roll. And he did it! On lap 41 the Aussie managed to go past Hamilton to take third.
Ricciardo was on a mission, he passed Vettel on lap 43 thanks to his soft tires. “We should have had these new tyres” said Hamilton, and it was true indeed, the Red Bulls were quicker.Then Verstappen hit Vettel and they both spun with Vettel losing the most by dropping to P7.
As if he had not done enough, Ricciardo was now in the lead, he managed to pass Bottas for P1. He even opened a 2.8s gap after that stint. “Don’t give up, get past Hulkenberg,” Ferrari told Vettel. Verstappen meanwhile was given a 10s penalty for causing that collision.
LAP 46/56: @danielricciardo TAKES THE LEAD! #ChineseGP 🇨🇳 #F1 pic.twitter.com/cupKVZ3k56
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 15, 2018
Ricciardo extended his lead to 4s and set a new fastest lap of the race while at it. And Verstappen passed Hamilton too, taking fourth.
Vettel was having real trouble down the road in P7, facing pressure from Alonso, and the McLaren managed to pass him, dropping the Ferrari to P8. Vettel was pushed to the grass in the process, and race control noted the situation.
At the front, Ricciardo held his ground to win the Chinese GP 2018 in style, with a 8s lead from second placed Bottas.