April 25, 2018

Ricciardo storms to sensational Chinese Grand Prix victory

15 April 2018, 12:35 | Sandy Nunez

GETTYDaniel Ricciardo thinks Max Verstappen was"greedy

Daniel Ricciardo

In the closing stages of final practice on Saturday morning, Ricciardo's Renault turbo exploded in spectacular fashion as smoke and flames burst from the exhaust. Kimi Raikkonen was third for Ferrari.

The Dutchman, enlivened by his newfound pace, attempted to pass the Briton around the outside of turn seven on lap 38, but it was too ambitious, and the Red Bull Racing auto slid off the track.

He went on to qualify a place behind teammate Max Verstappen in sixth. It took him only two laps to outfox the German in a daring parry at the end of the long back straight. That wouldn't be the end of Verstappen's eventful day; on lap 43 he collected Sebastian Vettel at Turn 14 which saw him slapped with a 10 second time penalty.

Ricciardo then showed his young partner how to do it with a late-braking move on the Mercedes into the hairpin from a long way back.

"Obviously it was really close - definitely weren't doing it for the cameras", said a rather relived Ricciardo after qualifying sixth.

The triumph came after Ricciardo barely made it out for Saturday's qualifying session, where he secured position six on the grid, following an engine failure in practice.

Asked if getting a different engine for 2019 was a priority, Ricciardo replied: "We'll see after a few more races".

"Some of the issues I've had before, like close to the limiter and when I'm shifting and stuff it just doesn't really work properly". "The mechanics worked their butts off, so thank you".

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Bottas had done everything right, but the safety vehicle cost him dearly.

"It was disappointing. We were giving everything we had". "It felt like we should have had the victory, but not today".

Vettel and teammate Raikkonen grabbed a lockout for Ferrari on the front row to put the pressure on Mercedes.

There will be a post-mortem at Ferrari as to how they let that happen, given Vettel was leading by more than three seconds before Bottas' stop on lap 19 on 56, with Vettel stopping a lap later. "Hopefully it's short enough that the power doesn't compromise the good start we could have". He managed his tyres well in the opening stint, stayed patient amidst the chaos of the Safety Car period and executed his overtakes perfectly in the second half of the race. The Australian, who started sixth on the ultra-soft tyre but very almost missed qualifying after a turbo failure in FP3, made up a place before stopping for fresh medium tyres.

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton crossed the line fifth behind Verstappen but was promoted to fourth after the Dutchman's penalty was applied.

Vettel looked likely to finish seventh, but was overtaken by McLaren's Fernando Alonso on the penultimate lap to finish even further down the order.

Carlos Sainz just missed out on passing the Ferrari on the last lap and had to settle for ninth with Kevin Magnussen completing the top 10 points scorers for Haas.

The next round of the title heads to Baku for the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan in two weeks.

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