Remarkable Ricciardo's recovery to victory in China

Daniel Ricciardo was just two minutes from starting at the back of the grid on Saturday, but a remarkable 24 hours for the Australian saw him standing atop the podium of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Sunday, 15th April 2018, 10:01 am
Updated Sunday, 15th April 2018, 10:21 am
Daniel Ricciardo win in China

A smokey turbo blow-out during FP3 on Saturday left Ricciardo's Red Bull mechanics scrambling to get him out in time for qualifying, getting into Q2 by the skin of his teeth. From there, he qualified sixth for Sunday's race but there was more drama to come.

Running behind the Ferraris, Mercedes pair and team-mate Max Verstappen, it was shaping up to be a life-less affair but a collision between the Toro Rossos forced a safety car, prompting both Red Bulls to pit at the same time, getting onto new rubber while the rest stayed out.

Verstappen, who was criticised last weekend for a move on Lewis Hamilton, would ultimately come to harm again though with some rash overtaking attempts - taking to the grass after a move on Lewis Hamilton didn't pull off, he then hit championship leader Sebastian Vettel, dropping him further down the field and earning himself a 10 second penalty.

Ricciardo didn't have to battle his team-mate, passing him when his move on Hamilton failed, then fought through the front runners with ease, completing a brilliant move on Valtteri Bottas for the lead into Turn 6, cruising to victory in the end by nearly 10 seconds.

Verstappen repassed Hamilton, this time cleanly, for fourth on track as he took the chequered flag but his penalty meant he was fifth.

"That was unexpected," Ricciardo admitted on the podium. "Just 24 hours a go I thought I was going to start at the back of the grid. Thanks so much to all the guys in the garage for getting me out in time.

"We had the softer tyre on, so we knew we had the better tyre, I had to lick the stamp and send it!"

Ricciardo crosses the line in Shanghai

Verstappen was spotted after the race speaking with Vettel following their collision, and he said: "I could see him struggling with his tyres, I braked late, locked the rears and hit him. It's not what you want, and I should have waited but unfortunately it happened.

"I think we've all been in that position and situation so as drivers we talk about that sort of stuff.

"At the moment, things aren't going the way I want but it doesn't mean I have to calm down. I just have to analyse things and come back better in the next race."

Ricciardo crosses the line in Shanghai