nsucurrent.com April 26, 2018

Ricciardo storms to Chinese Grand Prix victory

16 April 2018, 11:12 | Nina Perez

GETTYLewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided last weekend in Bahrain

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton

"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. Bottas has 40 points in third place and Ricciardo is fourth with 37.

Bottas stopped on the following lap and emerged into clear air just ahead of Verstappen.

But a superb early pit stop on the 19th lap, matched by peerless in- and outlaps, enabled Bottas to get ahead of the Ferrari when he got the undercut on Vettel, who pitted a lap later.

Ricciardo got quicker and quicker and took the lead on the 45th lap of the 56-lap race, overtaking Valtteri Bottas with a dive on the inside past the Mercedes driver.

It was a day to forget for Vettel, however, who started from the pole next to teammate Raikkonen in a lockout for Ferrari.

The race would then be flipped on its head thanks to a collision between Toro Rosso teammates Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly. Neither driver pitted during the safety vehicle.

Red Bull reacted brilliantly.

The Australian carved his way through the field from sixth place, after taking on fresh tyres under a safety auto, to storm to the sixth grand prix victory of his career.

"The team told me I needed the best out-lap of my life", Bottas said, and I knew it was possible to get the undercut if we got everything ideal, the entry to the pits, the stop, which was the best I've ever had with the team, and then switching the medium tyres on quickly.

Verstappen tried to pass Hamilton around the outside but instead nearly bumped wheels and went off the track. The Briton held firm though, forcing the Dutchman into evasive action. The Red Bull team could not hide their delight, imploring the Australian to now challenge Vettel for second spot.

Verstappen also tried to overtake the Ferrari driver but hit him, pitching both into a spin, letting Hamilton and Raikkonen through. Verstappen was slapped with a 10-second, post-race time penalty for his efforts.

It got better for Ricciardo on lap 42, as he made a DRS-assisted move past Vettel to move up to second.

Back at the front Ricciardo raced up to race leader Bottas' rear wing. His newer tires clearly working well, the Australian soon pulled away from the Finn into a lead he was not to lose, setting fastest lap in the process. Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton missed out on the podium for the first time this season, crossing the line fifth behind Verstappen.

As the drivers reeled off the closing laps with Ricciardo looking serene at the front, the main on-track interest was the battle for second place, with Bottas closely followed by Raikkonen and Verstappen. Vettel was also passed by the McLaren of Fernando Alonso two laps from the end.

In doing so, the 28-year-old earned his sixth career Formula 1 victory and became the second different victor through three races so far this season after Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel won the first two races of the season, the Australian Grand Prix and the Bahrain Grand Prix. On the winner's podium after the race, the Australian celebrated with his customary "shoey" to the delight of the waiting fans.

How has everything that has happened up until this point in the 2018 Formula 1 season affected the Formula 1 Driver Power Rankings?

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