Daniel Ricciardo has won the 2018 F1 Chinese Grand Prix for Red Bull after mistakes by Ferrari and Mercedes saw Vettel finish eighth and Hamilton fifth.
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. But that saw Bottas take the lead from Vettel as he rejoined the race after his pit stop.
But everything got thoroughly mixed up when the Toro Rossos had a coming together on lap 31 and the safety car was deployed.
Red Bull quickly brought Verstappen and Ricciardo in for fresh rubber under the safety car, and with that advantage the Red Bulls looked dominant, but Verstappen overcooked an attempted pass on Hamilton and then collided with Vettel, whereas Ricciardo kept his cool and passed Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel and Bottas to take a stunning win.
That collision between Vettel and Verstappen saw Vettel struggle to eighth place (overtaken by Alonso’s McLaren in the closing laps) and Hamilton in fifth (although Verstappen’s penalty for the crash with Vettel moved him up to fourth and Verstappen down to fifth), with Bottas managing to hold onto second and Raikkonen claiming third for Ferrari.
The rest of the points finishers were Hulkenburg in sixth, Sainz in ninth and the Haas of Magnussen grabbing the last point.
The race mixes things up, with Vettel’s miserable race allowing Hamilton to close the points gap to just nine, and Mercedes are now a point ahead of Ferrari in the constructors with Red Bull in third and, remarkably, McLaren in fourth.
The result of the Chinese Grand Prix may have been as much about Ferrari and Mercedes mistakes as it was about Ricciardo’s great driving, but it made for a cracking race.