Verstappen on the podium in Japan as Ricciardo recovers

Max Verstappen led home Daniel Ricciardo for third and fourth at the Japanese Grand Prix
Max Verstappen led home Daniel Ricciardo for third and fourth at the Japanese Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing had both cars finish in the top four for the first time since June as Max Verstappen took third at the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian started 14th after a mechanical issue in qualifying saw him drop out in Q2, but as he carved through the field, it was Verstappen stealing the headlines in the early stages as he came to blows with both Ferraris.

Verstappen was penalised for his part in the collision with Raikkonen

Verstappen was penalised for his part in the collision with Raikkonen

After colliding with Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap, earning himself a five second penalty, he was then hit by championship contender Sebastian Vettel as he recovered from a poor qualifying, damaging the Red Bull's floor while sending Vettel to the back of the pack after a spin.

Ricciardo, running longer on the harder compound tyres, got the jump on Raikkonen for fourth spot when he eventually changed his tyres, while Verstappen got within touching distance of Valtteri Bottas' Mercedes late on but could never make a move for second spot.

It is the first time since the French Grand Prix in June that both Red Bulls have finished in the top four places.

While race winner Lewis Hamilton moved within touching distance of his fifth world championship, all the talk after the race was of Verstappen's incidents with the Ferraris.

"Looking back, if I get five seconds, I'll just cut the corner! I know what to do next time!" said the Dutchman after his penalty for the Raikkonen collision, while on Vettel's lunge, he added: "It's not a place you really overtake, but even the most experienced drivers make mistakes. We both got penalised with the damage. I got 10 seconds in China for that, but it is what it is and it's a shame it happened."

Ricciardo, on his fourth place, said: "It's a good result, all things considered. I didn't know where I'd end up today. Fourth was an optimistic target, so to get there was pretty cool. I'm happy.

I enjoyed the first stint, but in the second I was just securing fourth so it was less action-packed. I didn't expect to do as many overtakes as I did."