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Daniel Ricciardo storms to Chinese Grand Prix win with sensational drive
16 April 2018, 01:29 | Rufus Hill
GETTYDaniel Ricciardo could walk away from Red Bull this coming winter
Daniel Ricciardo won his first race of the season at the ChineseGrand Prix on Sunday after Red Bull Racing made a brilliant strategy call when the safety vehicle was deployed on lap 30 following a collision between the two Toro Rosso cars.
Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari won the first two races in Australia and Bahrain, but failed to capitalize on his pole position in China.
The Australian, who had already passed Raikkonen, then picked off Hamilton, Vettel and Bottas to clinch a stunning win.
The Red Bull man was unsurprisingly handed a ten-second penalty but that was of absolutely no concern to team-mate Ricciardo as he found an impossible gap to take Bottas and the race lead.
Raikkonen took a few good looks but ultimately was just under 0.8 seconds behind Bottas at the finish with Verstappen another 0.8 seconds behind him on the road.
Red Bull could still be in the market to renew the Australian's deal but he remains relaxed about a likely increase in demand for his services.
Ricciardo now sits fourth in the Drivers' Championship, 17 points behind leader Vettel.
The Brit was soundly beaten by Bottas in qualifying, and couldn't match his team-mate or Vettel for pace in the race. He went off track on lap 39 as he tried to muscle his way past the Mercedes of Hamilton and collided with Vettel on lap 43 while trying to pass the Ferrari.
The collision that saw the safety auto deployed was deemed to be Pierre Gasly's fault, and he was given a ten-second penalty. I feel every win I have had has been in similar circumstances.
With China coming hot on the heels of Bahrain the previous weekend, there were still stories from Sakhir to sort out - Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton eventually calling a truce after trading barbs following their on-track clash, Pierre Gasly explaining his subtle trolling of McLaren after finishing a career-best fourth (he admitted it was to give Honda credit), and plenty more besides. "I just haven't had the pace since yesterday (Saturday), and I struggled with the auto".
"I guess the plan was to still hold off a little bit [on negotiations]", he said.
"We have been underperforming".
"We have got a tough battle ahead of us, particularly on my side".
"Two minutes after yesterday and we'd have begun the race today from the back..." We have lost performance since Melbourne and maybe even more so this weekend.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel on his crash with Max Verstappen: "I didn't see him until late and left a bit of room".
Behind him, Valtteri Bottas came second after about 8.8 seconds then Kimi Räikkönen came third at 9.637 seconds. I didn't want to compromise my race. This incident had a significant impact on the rest of the race, as the shards of carbon fibre that were left strewn across the track caused the safety auto to be deployed on lap 32.
"In the end we would have needed the soft tyres to really go for it". It does get you down a lot.
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