Hamilton masterclass in China

Lewis Hamilton converted his pole position into a controlled Formula 1 race victory in an exciting Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton and the Mercedes team bounced back from defeat against Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the Australian Grand Prix. As the championship leader was unable to mount a challenge this time around, not helped by losing time in traffic after making an early pitstop.

Vettel did finish the race a clear runner-up, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completing the podium from P16 on the grid, holding off a strong late pressure from team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

While the Shanghai International Circuit was drying quickly after morning rain, all but two cars – the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz and the Renault of Jolyon Palmer (which pitted at the end of the formation lap) – had intermediate tyres fitted.

When the five red lights went out, Hamilton eased towards Turn 1 in the lead, whereas fellow front row starter Vettel only just kept the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at bay.

There was progress for Red Bull, with Ricciardo picking off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen for fourth after the opening sequence of corners and Verstappen powering through to seventh by the end of the opening lap, having made up nine places.

Midway through the first lap, Lance Stroll, who had made his first Q3 appearance, was punted off by Force India’s Sergio Perez, the Canadian rookie’s Williams beached in the gravel and forcing an appearance by the virtual safety car.

That remained for a couple of laps, with Hamilton now enjoying a healthy advantage and a number of drivers, including Vettel, opting to switch to slicks.

Most of the frontrunners were on intermediates as green flags waved again, but there was another crash moments later as Antonio Giovinazzi lost his car on the main straight, slamming into the pitwall and leading to a full safety car period.

When the race restarted on lap seven, the whole field was now on slicks, with Ricciardo Hamilton’s closest rival, as Vettel lost ground through the earlier stop and Bottas spun under the safety car when trying to warm up his tyres.

In green-flag conditions, a surging Verstappen quickly passed Raikkonen for third, before picking off Ricciardo a few laps later with a dive into Turn 6.

Hamilton pulled away at the front, with Ricciardo quickly dropping off the pair and instead working to keep the Ferrari duo at bay.

Vettel picked off Raikkonen first, and he needed little time to pull off a superb outside move on Ricciardo.

As Vettel applied pressure to Verstappen, the Red Bull driver locked up into the hairpin at the end of the lap, allowing the Ferrari through before pitting shortly after.

Upon rejoining, Verstappen lit up the timing screens and, after he took fifth from Bottas with another late Turn 6 lunge, all the drivers ahead would make their stops as well.

Eventually, this left Hamilton seven seconds clear of Vettel, and the gap between the pair remained around that point for the rest of the grand prix, eventually ending up at 6.250 seconds at the chequered flag.

It was much closer in the fight for third, as the final laps of the race featured a tense fight between Verstappen and Ricciardo.

Verstappen was frustrated at the Haas of Romain Grosjean running ahead a lap down, but whatever interference from RoGro caused was not enough for Ricciardo to capitalise.

Ricciardo tried a last-lap lunge at the hairpin, but came up short, having to settle for fourth position, while Raikkonen led recovering Bottas in fifth.

Sainz was best of the rest for Toro Rosso in seventh, while Kevin Magnussen scored his first points for his new team Haas in eighth.

He overtook the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, with the duo completing the top ten as they bagged another double points finish for the Indian outfit.

There were five retirements in total, Stroll and Giovinazzi exiting in incidents and three other drivers foiled by reliability – Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and the McLaren duo of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso, the latter pulling over with a driveshaft failure after battling Sainz.

So a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix. Full of overtakes and wheel-to-wheel action in mixed conditions. The two champions are tied on 43 points with a win apiece. It’s game on for the championship honours.

Chinese Grand Prix, race results after 56 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    56    1h37m36.160s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    56    6.250s
3    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    56    45.192s
4    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    56    46.035s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    56    48.076s
6    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    56    48.808s
7    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    56    1m12.893s
8    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    55    1 Lap
9    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    55    1 Lap
10    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    55    1 Lap
11    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    55    1 Lap
12    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    55    1 Lap
13    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    55    1 Lap
14    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    55    1 Lap
15    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    55    1 Lap
–    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    33    Transmission
–    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    18    Retirement
–    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    17    Retirement
–    Antonio Giovinazzi    Sauber-Ferrari    3    Spun off
–    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    0    Collision

Drivers’ standings:

1    Sebastian Vettel    43
1    Lewis Hamilton    43
3    Max Verstappen    25
4    Valtteri Bottas    23
5    Kimi Raikkonen    22
6    Daniel Ricciardo    12
7    Carlos Sainz    10
8    Felipe Massa    8
9    Sergio Perez    8
10    Kevin Magnussen    4
11    Daniil Kvyat    2
12    Esteban Ocon    2
13    Nico Hulkenberg    0
14    Romain Grosjean    0
15    Antonio Giovinazzi    0
16    Jolyon Palmer    0
16    Stoffel Vandoorne    0
18    Marcus Ericsson    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    66
2    Ferrari    65
3    Red Bull-Renault    37
4    Toro Rosso-Renault    12
5    Force India-Mercedes    10
6    Williams-Mercedes    8
7    Haas-Ferrari    4
8    Renault    0
9    Sauber-Ferrari    0
10    McLaren-Honda    0

9 thoughts to “Hamilton masterclass in China”

  1. Chinese Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel share the world championship points lead after a tense battle in Sunday’s 2017 Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix. It left both smiling broadly as they finished first and second, 6.2s apart, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third having fought his way up from 16th on the grid.

    Hamilton’s 54th F1 triumph came as he led from pole position from start to finish – the third grand slam of his career – but it was no walkover.

    The race began on a damp but rapidly drying track, with everyone bar Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz on intermediate tyres. Sainz quickly rued that gamble, spinning off on Lap 1 and then needlessly brushing the wall as he made his way back onto the circuit.

    It quickly became clear though that slicks were in fact the right choice and others, including Vettel, pitted for dry rubber under a virtual safety car on the second lap, triggered when Force India’s Sergio Perez had collided with Williams’ Lance Stroll on the first, leaving the Canadian rookie beached in the gravel.

    Leaders Hamilton, team mate Valtteri Bottas, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Verstappen – already up to fifth – stayed out until the fourth lap, when a real safety car deployment came as Antonio Giovinazzi crashed his Sauber exiting the final corner, the Italian appearing to aquaplane off into the pit wall.

    That enabled all five to keep their positions as they pitted, leaving Vettel to drop from an initial second to sixth, and set up the thriller.

    Initially it was Verstappen who proved to be Hamilton’s main challenger. He and Ricciardo had gone for the supersoft Pirellis, as all the others went for softs in the hope of going all the way. But gradually, the Dutchman fell back, and after Vettel had finally passed team mate Raikkonen on the 20th lap, then Ricciardo in a bold and forceful move in Turn 6 on the 22nd, he closed in on the remaining Red Bull and overtook it when Verstappen had a big lock-up in the Turn 14 hairpin on the 28th.

    From that half-distance point, Hamilton and Vettel were in a world of their own as they traded times and the gap between them ebbed and flowed. Both elected to take fresh soft tyres, Vettel before Hamilton this time.

    Both thought the other had great pace and clearly loved their battle, but perhaps Vettel summarised things best when he suggested that, this year, whoever wins deserves it.

    They have 43 points apiece in the drivers’ table as Mercedes eased ahead of Ferrari by one in the constructors’, and the prospects of a super-close title fight look very strong.

    Verstappen, like Ricciardo, had to stop for more supersofts, but just kept ahead for the final podium slot after a superb drive from the back of the grid which earned him the Driver of the Day vote from fans. Raikkonen just held on to fifth as Bottas fought back after spinning from fifth place to 12th on the seventh lap whilst weaving in an attempt to keep temperatures up under the safety car.

    Sainz made up for his first-lap off with an outstanding run to seventh as he made Toro Rosso the ‘best of the rest’, while Kevin Magnussen took a strong eighth for Haas after beating the Force Indias of Perez and Esteban Ocon. Team mate Romain Grosjean fought up from his penalised grid position for 11th as Nico Hulkenberg had an unhappy afternoon for Renault which included a five-second time penalty for overtaking under the virtual safety car, and a 10s penalty for doing likewise under the real one. Team mate Jolyon Palmer finished two seconds behind him.

    It was a horrible afternoon for Williams, too, as they lost Stroll from 10th place on that first lap, and saw Felipe Massa slump from seventh then to 14th at the end.

    Marcus Ericsson competed the finishers in 15th for Sauber, as Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat joined the retirements with a mechanical problem, and the McLarens of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso succumbed to technical issues. Alonso in particular had been mighty, running as high as sixth on the seventh lap, and in contention for points throughout.

    The F1 paddock now moves rapidly onward to the 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in just a week’s time.

  2. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel missed out on the chance to win the race due to an “unfortunate” safety car timing. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel believes the deployment of the Formula 1 safety car after Antonio Giovinazzi’s Chinese Grand Prix crash was “unfortunate” as it eliminated the potential advantage of his early pitstop.

    The Ferrari driver pitted for slicks under the virtual safety car deployed on the first lap thanks to Lance Stroll’s stricken Williams, but as Giovinazzi crashed moments after the race was restarted, the other frontrunners were then able to stop under safety car conditions.

    This meant Vettel could not capitalise on the period he believed he would have had a pace advantage in on slicks, and it left him in a queue behind the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo and teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

    The German hinted this would have transformed his battle with race winner Lewis Hamilton, who he finished 6.250s behind.

    “I realised the inters had quite a log of degradation, I knew it was dry in some parts of the track and I was happy to take the risk,” said Vettel of his early stop.

    “But the safety car came in just as I could feel the dries were a lot quicker, so I lost a lot of positions.

    “I just go with the fact that who won the races deserves to win, every race we done. Lewis did the best job, even though we were a bit unfortunate with the safety car.

    “Who knows, it was a long race from there, I had a bit more to do than he had.”

    Once he had made his way up to second, Vettel enjoyed the battle with Hamilton, even though he never got close enough to seriously threaten the Mercedes driver.

    “I tried to hunt him down, but knowing it would be difficult in the last few laps I asked for an average [time], and when they came up with a conclusion it was a bit more than half-a-second,” said Vettel.

    “I kept pushing in case he made a mistake and I enjoyed the fact we were racing, even if not side-by side.

    “I think in pace it was a bit matched, sometimes he was faster and sometimes I was faster.”

    Hamilton echoed Vettel’s sentiments on how closely matched they were after claiming his 54th grand prix win.

    “The only summary is that it is very, very close,” said Hamilton. “There were times putting laps in when it was hard to match the time in the last 10 or 12 laps when he was doing a 1m35.6s and I was doing a 1m35.8s.

    “There were other times when he was faster.”

  3. Chinese Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton admitted that the real race came alive when Sebastian Vettel made it into second position. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    Lewis Hamilton said he was relaxed in the lead of the Chinese Grand Prix until his Formula 1 championship rival Sebastian Vettel made it into second place.

    Mercedes driver Hamilton led every lap at Shanghai, but once Vettel made his way past the cars that jumped him early in the race due to his pitstop under virtual safety car conditions, the two engaged in a battle of laptimes as Hamilton tried to keep the Ferrari driver at bay.

    “From the get-go I felt I had the pace to control, to be in that position,” said Hamilton, who beat Vettel by 6.2 seconds to leave them level at the top of the standings after two races.

    “I didn’t really understand what was going on behind because I had the Red Bulls [second and third] and the Ferraris weren’t getting past.

    “I was controlling it at that time, I was quite chilled at the front because I wasn’t being pressured from the Red Bulls.

    “But when Sebastian got behind, then we had a real race on our hands, but obviously I had that gap.”

    Vettel believed the timing of the safety car, moments after the race had restarted following the virtual safety car period during which he had made his early stop, was “unfortunate” for his hopes, and Hamilton agreed.

    “If there wasn’t a safety car it would have been a flat-chat race, a couple of seconds between us the whole way,” he added.

    “We were very close in laptime and it was unfortunate that he got stuck behind the other cars.

    “It’s always a lot easier when you’ve got a good gap to maintain. When it’s one second, it’s pretty hair-raising.”

    Hamilton praised Mercedes’ strategy calls during the race, including when to switch from intermediates to slicks early on, and the decision to make his final stop at a time that allowed him to maintain the lead.

    “For me there was no risk to come in [for slicks],” he said. “It’s often when you want to gain something, you tend to decide to take a risk.

    “It was more of a risk at that time for me to come in a lap earlier, as I was still doing a decent pace.

    “The strategists did the right job in terms of reacting to the scenarios.

    “Now, having seen my tyres, I could have gone to the end of the race [without an extra stop], but we are still learning with these tyres.

    “They felt OK still, but I didn’t know if in 20 laps they would have dropped off the cliff and one of the other guys could have taken a different strategy and made it to the end.

    “Luckily I already had a pitstop window so I could stop and still come back out in my position, so I took it.”

  4. Max Verstappen enjoyed a race of contrasts in China on Sunday, charging through the field on the opening lap, but then having to go very much on the defensive in the closing stages, when he came under intense pressure from Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo for the final podium spot.

    Starting 16th on the grid after an engine software problem in qualifying, Verstappen made the most of the damp conditions when the lights went out, moving up to seventh place by the end of Lap 1, before ultimately going on to finish third behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – earning Driver of the Day honours in the process.

    “That was not bad I think,” said the Dutchman modestly. “I really enjoyed that first lap where I passed nine cars and from there onwards I think there were some good moves as well to overtake.

    “I was struggling a little bit with the balance of the car because yesterday I didn’t run a lot, of course, in qualifying, so I didn’t really have a good picture of it because we changed a lot from FP3 on the car.

    “I don’t think it was perfect in the race especially with the cold temperatures, so this track is already a lot of understeer and I got even more. And then it was just trying to keep the left front (tyre) alive and it was very hard. I was very happy to stay in touch.”

    Verstappen’s race was at its most tense in the dying laps when – with his tyres fading and Romain Grosjean’s lapped Haas in front – he had to work hard to hold off the charging Ricciardo, whose challenge only ended with a failed, last-ditch attempt to out-brake his team mate as they went into the Turn 14 hairpin for the final time.

    “It was not nice because I didn’t have a perfect car balance, then it’s not really nice to defend,” said Verstappen. “But I managed to hold on and it was a good race for the team as well.”

    The result puts Red Bull a lonely third in the constructor standings on 37 points, while Verstappen sits third in the drivers’ table on 25, 13 points and three places ahead of Ricciardo.

    Source: Formula1.com

  5. Kimi Raikkonen believes his Ferrari team should have stopped him for new tyres earlier during the Chinese Grand Prix, the Finn admitting his result ought to have been better.

    Raikkonen spent several laps during the middle part of the race stuck behind the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, before he was called in to put new tyres on on lap 39 – making his second stop later than all of his fellow frontrunners.

    Although teammate Sebastian Vettel had managed to pass Raikkonen and Ricciardo on track, the Finn felt he should have stopped earlier to avoid the traffic.

    Raikkonen went on to finish in a disappointing fifth position, over 40 seconds behind his teammate.

    “I had the feeling that we probably needed to stop at some point so I would rather do it earlier to get out of the traffic, the cars in front of me, but that didn’t happen,” said Raikkonen.

    “That feeling got even stronger on my side but it took a while. The reasons behind it I don’t know right now. We have to look at it. It’s easy to say afterwards. We should have done a better job out of it.

    “After that it was pretty much race over. I caught up with the Red Bull but it was too late.

    “The car was behaving pretty nicely with the new tyres, but we lost the front after a few laps and for sure we have some work to be done with the set-up to be happy all the time.

    “The speed wasn’t too bad, but not a great result.”

    Although Raikkonen complained about his engine several times during the race, he said afterwards that there was nothing wrong with it and suggested the issue was related to its settings-

    “The engine was okay. Obviously we just have to do certain things. I didn’t expect that there was nothing wrong with the engine. It’s different settings. No issue there. It didn’t do anything wrong for us. It was all okay.”

    The Ferrari driver, who finished a distant fourth in the season-opening Australia Grand Prix, believes the lack of running on Friday was particularly hurtful as he feels he needs track time to sort his set-up issues.

    “It was better here than it was last race, but the result shows we still have improvements to make in the set-up, but I think we know what we want to do,” he said.

    “The situation with the no running on Friday didn’t make it any easier. There’s a lot of potential but we just have to make a better job.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  6. Carlos Sainz’s slick tyre gamble pay-off was “massive adrenaline rush”. The Toro Rosso driver started the race on slicks and had good pace throughout the race. Eventually finished the Chinese Grand Prix in a solid seventh position. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz admits his slick-tyred start gamble in the Chinese Grand Prix “might have blown a big result”, before his stunning drive to seventh.

    Having started on supersofts, Sainz made a terrible getaway and slipped to last place off the starting grid before running wide at Turn 1 and spinning at Turn 2.

    But as the rest of the field switched their intermediates for slicks, Sainz was able to regain his track position and showed great pace after the safety car.

    “You must’ve seen the faces of my engineers, they looked at me like I was a bit crazy!” exclaimed Sainz of his decision. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw everyone else was on the intermediates.

    “The risk paid off. You tell yourself it has to be the right decision, and suddenly when everyone pitted for [dry tyres] and knowing how wet it was in the first four corners and dry from then on, then I said ‘OK, now I’m the clever one now and not so stupid anymore!’

    “It paid off, and sometimes when you’re in the midfield it’s worth taking these risks.”

    Sainz said his pace after the safety car period was “incredible” as he was the fastest driver on track until his rivals ahead got their tyres up to temperature.

    “It’s not only the gamble we took, it’s also the pace in damp conditions,” he said. “After the safety car I saw myself catching Ferraris, Red Bulls and Mercedes in front in the damp conditions – and I got super excited.

    “Yesterday they were 2s faster than me, and today I’m catching them. It was incredible and I felt super-comfortable with the car. You cannot imagine how happy the team is.

    “When you take this tough decision, there’s a lot of waiting before the start, thinking you might have blown a big result for the team. Suddenly, when it pays off, that adrenaline rush is massive!

    “When you look at where the other midfield guys are, 35s back, it shows the enormous pace we had today and the brave risk we took.”

  7. Valtteri Bottas needs to ‘analyse and forget’ the error that saw him spin while running behind the safety car in China on Sunday, according to Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.

    Bottas had been running fifth on lap six when, still under safety car conditions, he lost the rear of his car and spun across the grass (see video below), dropping to 12th as a result.

    The Finn took full blame, telling his team over the radio: “Really disappointing, so sorry guys for the amateur mistake. I know it doesn’t help but I will make it up in the next races…”

    Wolff backed his driver to bounce back from the slip-up, adding: “He threw it away behind the safety car – he just needs to recover from that now.

    “It was very slippery out there and he lost it – and that’s when the race was gone. [But] it’s the second race of the season, there are 18 more – analyse and forget it.

    “You could see during the race that he had the pace. He was doing Lewis’s lap times at various stages, but once you’re losing so many positions and you’re not in the leading pack anymore, and you have to recover mentally, that is very difficult.

    “He certainly has the character to recover from such a situation.”

    Bottas ended up finishing the race in sixth, just 0.7s behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen – and within four seconds of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who clinched the final step of the podium. He had also lost time due to a slow pit stop, but took full responsibility for how his race unravelled.

    “I had a bit of an issue with the pit stop, lost a few places,” he explained, “but no big drama – there were still a lot of laps. The rear jacked dropped and they couldn’t change the left rear, but that was a small mistake compared to mine.

    “Behind the safety car I was trying to generate as much tyre temperature as I could, but I went too far and spun – and after that it was tricky to get the tyres back to working temperature.

    “It was a mistake of mine; I lost too many points today.”

    As a result of his sixth-place finish, Bottas slips to fourth in the standings, behind Verstappen. He has 23 points, barely half Hamilton’s 43.

    Source: Formula1.com

  8. Despite another non-finish after running in the top 10, Fernando Alonso felt it was “incredible” race that was even better than Australia. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Fernando Alonso believes his Chinese Grand Prix performance was even better than in Australia, which he had labelled as one of the best races of his life.

    Alonso, starting from 13th on the grid, took advantage of the tricky conditions early in the race to climb up to eighth position despite the clear deficit in terms of top speed on the long straights.

    The McLaren driver was forced to retire with a driveshaft problem on lap 31, but was still delighted with his own showing.

    “Yeah, incredible,” said Alonso when asked if he was happy with his performance. “I thought Australia would be unrepeatable and here it was the same or even better.

    “The conditions helped and so we took advantage of that. People were spinning left and right and we were gaining places more or less for free, and then when the track was damp we were keeping the pace of the best with a top speed deficit that’s pretty incredible.

    “One of the best things that have happened to me,” he added.

    Alonso, who believes he could have finished the race in the points, admitted that keeping the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas behind him for a few laps was “surreal”.

    “I think we’d be fighting with Perez and Magnussen for the final points,” he said.

    “I think we could have scored one or two points like in Australia in an incredible way, because running ahead of Bottas and that he can’t overtake you for two or three laps was one of the most surreal things that have ever happened to me.

    “He was like 300m behind me and he passed me on the straight but then I could sort of stay with him on the following lap, so it was one of the most surreal things that have happened to me.”

    Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne also retired from the race with a fuel system issue, and the Spanish driver acknowledged the team is still paying the price for its lack of laps in testing.

    “As we said in Australia: having not done testing, we are discovering new problems race after race. Let’s hope we can have a normal reliability soon to be able to finish the races.”

  9. Daniel Ricciardo says his Red Bull Formula 1 car “came to life” during the Chinese Grand Prix after adding downforce with a front-wing adjustment at his second pitstop.

    The Australian struggled for front grip in the first part of the race and, after initially running second, was passed by both team-mate Max Verstappen and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.

    But after his second pitstop on lap 33 of 56, Ricciardo reeled in Verstappen and was able to challenge for third place late on before settling for fourth.

    “That first stint was frustrating,” said Ricciardo.

    “We couldn’t keep on top of the front tyres, we killed them quite quickly and got eaten up by the others.

    “I was trying to hang on obviously, but I don’t think it was a fight I was ever going to come out winning.

    “The second pit stop allowed us then to make a change. It came to life.

    “We gave it some front wing, got the front tyres working, and we were a lot of quicker.”

    Ricciardo admitted he was frustrated not to be able to pass Verstappen for third, with the Dutchman struggling for grip while behind the lapped Haas of Romain Grosjean late on.

    “We got close to Max and we put ourselves in his position, struggling with grip,” said Ricciardo.

    “It’s frustrating to be there, but not close enough to pull off the move.

    “I’m happy to have completed the race and gone through the motions, I’m satisfied with that.”

    Ricciardo also reveled in his earlier battle for third place with Vettel, during which the pair briefly rubbed wheels.

    “I was honestly a bit bored, so I just thought let’s bang some wheels and get the crowd excited,” said Ricciardo.

    “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t intentional, but I knew there was no harm done.

    “A little bit of smoke for the fans.”

    Vettel also enjoyed the moment, admitting he was happy to have to battle to complete the pass for third place.

    “On the exit [of Turn 6] it was a bit compromised with wheelspin and I got the elbows out,” said Vettel.

    “He squeezed me, but we had good fun.”

    Source: Autosport.com

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