Verstappen under spotlight as Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo claims Chinese win


The Red Bull driver surged from sixth to first in the space of 10 laps following his team's opportunistic decision to pit for fresh tyres in a safety-car period.

First up for Ricciardo was a brilliant overtake on Lewis Hamilton, with the Mercedes driver then losing his position to Verstappen, after the Dutchman had gone off earlier at Turn 4 trying to overtake.

Further back, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg at least knew where to line up on race day - he started seventh for the sixth straight race - while Bahrain standout Gasly fell back to earth with a thud, eliminated in Q1 and starting just 17th, behind Toro Rosso teammate Brendon Hartley.

However then Verstappen got over-eager again and when he tried to get ahead of Vettel he touched and they both spun, allowing Raikkonen and Hamilton to get ahead.

Verstappen was too far back to try a realistic move but he threw his auto down the inside at the apex, locked his rear wheels and slid into Vettel, earning a 10-second penalty from the stewards for causing a collision.

With Ricciardo now untouchable, Raikkonen began to pressure Bottas for second, but the younger Finn held on.

Pilot Red bull Daniel Riccardo in bright style became the victor of the third race of the season in Formula 1.

Mercedes have edged in front in the constructors' championship by a single point from the Italian team, who saw Vettel's lead at the top of the drivers' standings cut to nine points by Hamilton.

"Holy Testicle Tuesday", the 28-year-old exclaimed if asked exactly what his reaction could have been had someone suggested that Red Bull would acquire a race earlier winners Mercedes this season.

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But it all started to change as the pit stops started, with Verstappen and both Mercedes the first of the leaders in and Ferrari leaving Vettel out for a couple of more laps.

The collision that saw the safety vehicle deployed was deemed to be Pierre Gasly's fault, and he was given a ten-second penalty.

"That gave us a bit of grip on the restart".

"Given where we were 24 hours ago, thanks to the boys", he said from the podium. It was decisive, winning moves from the team.

"We didn't assume we went to escape only in qualifying and over twenty four hours later, now to be here.this game'so insane. [This race] was insane and a lot of fun".

Lewis Hamilton who finished fourth said: "I was in no man's land today".

"A lot of time you only get one chance, so I make the most of every opportunity", Ricciardo said. "It felt like we should have had the victory, but not today". "I just haven't had the pace since yesterday (Saturday), and I struggled with the vehicle".

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel on his crash with Max Verstappen: "I didn't see him until late and left a bit of room". 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. "That is racing. These things happen".

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