Chinese GP: How the race unfolded as Daniel Ricciardo takes victory

A Lap 31 Safety Car in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix opened the door for Red Bull Racing to pit both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen for soft Pirelli tires following the opening round of stops.

The second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after a hard race, with the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettelonly eighth after a mid-race collision with Max Verstappen's Red Bull.

The first cars pitted at the 11 lap mark.

Lap 55: Fernando Alonso passes Vettel for seventh position. However, misjudging the distance between himself and the former four-time world champion led to the two making contact and spinning 180 degrees as Hamilton and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen managed to make it through.

Hamilton apologised to his team for losing places.

A second-hand auto slipped behind Ricciardo after an attempt to overtake Hamilton and the same happened when he tried to overtake Vettel.

Lap 19: Bottas is called in to cover off Verstappen's surge on his fresh tyres. Two laps later, he drafted by Vettel for second on the long back straightaway, and took aim at Bottas for the lead from there.

In Mercedes' defence, Ferrari also chose not to pit Raikkonen, but both teams suffered as a result.

Yellow flags then flew at the hairpin after the Toro Rosso cars collided. With the safety vehicle deployed, Red Bull reacted first, immediately calling both cars into the pits, their team once again proving the most alert of the field.

When the race resumed on lap 36, Bottas got a good start ahead of Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, however, the advantage was all Red Bull's with their fresh ultrasoft tyres.

BC-CAR-F1-Chinese Grand Prix, 3rd Ld-Writethru, 638 Red Bull's Ricciardo wins Chinese Grand Prix; 6th career winAP Photo CHF132, CHF126, CHF108, CHF159, CHF124, CHF123Eds: Updates with race details, quotes.

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.

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. Bottas keeps lead from Vettel and Hamilton. The stewards concurred, slapping the Red Bull man with a timed penalty.

Behind him, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg drove a solid race for sixth, ahead of Alonso and an angry Vettel. Verstappen was ahead of teammate Ricciardo but he ran wide after an overtaking move on Hamilton went wrong, which allowed his teammate ahead. 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.

Lewis Hamilton ended a somewhat quiet race in fourth for Mercedes after Verstappen's penalty, but was able to close the gap on Vettel at the top of the drivers' championship as the Ferrari driver dropped through the field in the final few laps.

  • Leroy Wright