Daniel Ricciado claimed a sensational victory today for Red Bull Racing in this year’s Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit.
After starting from sixth, the Australian brilliantly overtook the best of his rivals midway through the race including teammate Max Verstappen, defending World champion Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
With 12 laps to go, Ricciardo was able to pass Valtteri Bottas for the lead and he charged to the chequered flag from there.
Ricciardo won his first race of the season and sixth of his career in a total time of 1 hour 35 minutes 36.380 seconds. The Finnish pair of Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen followed in 8.894s and 9.637s, respectively.
Behind the podium placers were Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen.
Verstappen was originally fourth but was given a 10-second penalty for his involvement in a collision with Vettel which cost the German a possible victory or a podium.
Post-race, Ricciardo commented: “That was fun, a lot of fun and I just about believe it now. From where we were yesterday you would not have believed we would be here today.
“For me this is a massive reward but for the mechanics and engineers, they really earned this victory. Not only for the pit stops and strategy today but for getting me out in Qualifying yesterday which enabled me to get in the fight for victory, they should be very, very proud. The problem in free practice wasn’t their fault but they did all the hard work and made today happen.
“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. Now we can all go and celebrate tonight.”
The Formula 1 season resume on April 29 with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 29.