The Chinese Grand Prix was set to be a straight fight between the folks at Ferrari and Mercedes, although the two Red Bulls were ideally placed to make a lunge at the lead. The two Ferraris had the first row, with Sebastian Vettel holding onto lead, while Verstappen put pressure on both Raikkonnen and Bottas. However, by race end it was the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo that came in first.

The race had settled into a rhythm with strategy looking like it would decide the race positions. Two quick tyre changes by Hamilton and Bottas to mediums on lap 17 and 19 looked like it would take away the advantage of Vettel who stayed out, only to come in on lap 20 to take on Softs. The timing of the pit stop also left something to be desired as he came out behind a charging Bottas. Raikkonen seemed to be set for a different strategy.

That’s when a safety car incident necessitated by Toro Rosso’s Gasly ran into teammate Hartley on lap 30, allowed Ricciardo and Verstappen to dart into the pits and take on a fresh set of softs. The two Red Bulls then found themselves back in the fight although it was Ricciardo who set the track on fire, pulling off overtake manouevres to bring him ahead of the pack, only to open out a good lead.

SHANGHAI, CHINA – APRIL 15: Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing celebrates after the Formula One Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 15, 2018 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // AP-1VC9A1APH1W11 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

The race ended with Ricciardo ahead of Bottas and Raikkonen, whose odd strategy paid off. They were followed by Verstappen, who then got a ten second penalty for hitting Vettel, allowing Hamilton the fourth spot and sixth going to Renault’s Hulkenberg.

Ricciardo said post-race, “At the start of the race I thought we could fight for a podium but I didn’t really expect a win; then after the safety car and when I could see the way the race was going I knew we had a chance. Once I had a sniff of victory I wasn’t going to let it go.

“The team made a very quick decision to stop both cars under the safety car and it was a winning decision. I have lots of emotions. On the in lap I was just smiling and I didn’t have many words, then on the podium I was nearly in tears and in the press conference I was just thinking about the whole race and also about last week; how disappointed this sport can make you feel but also how high it can make you feel. It’s like some sort of drug I guess and now we can all celebrate tonight.”

2018 Formula 1 Drivers

Car NoNameTeam2018 season2017 season
5Sebastian VettelFerrari54317
44Lewis HamiltonMercedes45363
77Valtteri BottasMercedes40305
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing37200
7Kimi RäikkönenFerrari30205
14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren2217
27Nico HulkenbergRenault2243
33Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing18168
10Pierre GaslyToro Rosso120
20Kevin MagnussenHaas1119
2Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren613
55Carlos SainzRenault354
9Marcus EricssonSauber20
31Esteban OconForce India187
11Sergio PerezForce India0100
16Charles LeclercSauber0 
8Romain GrosjeanHaas028
18Lance StrollWilliams040
28Brendan HartleyToro Rosso00
35Sergey SirotkinWilliams0 

2018 Formula 1 Teams

Team2018 season2017 season
Mercedes85668
Ferrari84522
Red Bull Racing55368
McLaren Renault2830
Renault2557
Toro Rosso Honda1253
Haas Ferrari1147
Sauber Ferrari25
Force India Mercedes1187
Williams Mercedes083
2018 Formula 1 Teams

2018 Formula 1 Races

LocationDateFirstSecondThird
Australia25/03/2018Sebastian VettelLewis HamiltonKimi Raikkonen
Bahrain04/04/2018Sebastian VettelValtteri BottasLewis Hamilton
China15/04/2018Daniel RicciardoValtteri BottasKimi Raikkonen
Azerbaijan29/04/2018   
Spain13/05/2018   
Monaco27/05/2018   
Canada10/06/2018   
France24/06/2018   
Austria01/07/2018   
Britain08/07/2018   
Germany22/07/2018   
Hungary29/07/2018   
Belgium26/08/2018   
Italy02/09/2018   
Singapore16/09/2018   
Russia20/09/2018   
Japan07/10/2018   
United States21/10/2018   
Mexico28/10/2018   
Brazil11/11/2018   
Abu Dhabi25/11/2018   

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