Ricciardo victorious in China as Verstappen and Vettel clashed

Daniel Ricciardo charged from sixth to score an awesome victory at the Chinese Grand Prix as Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel collided.

Bottas and Vettel were locked in their own battle for the win until Ricciardo and Verstappen pitted again for fresh, soft tyres during a safety car just after the halfway mark as their rivals stayed on mediums.

Ricciardo then overtook his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton and Vettel in quick succession before pulling off an incredible pass on Bottas into the tight Turn 6 right-hander for the victory.

Bottas fought off against the recovering Kimi Raikkonen to claim third, after Verstappen tipped Vettel into a spin at the hairpin with 14 laps to the flag.

Vettel had led from pole in the opening stint and built a lead of just over three seconds over Bottas, and Mercedes moved first on strategy by pitting Bottas on lap 19 of 56.

Ferrari reacted a lap later, but a great middle sector from Bottas helped him sweep past into Turn 1 as Vettel exited the pits.

Bottas resisted that advantage over the next few laps until Vettel had a brief chance to attack when they caught Raikkonen, who was running a much longer opening stint.

Raikkonen kept Bottas behind into the hairpin at the end of the lap but was powerless to stop an aggressive attack from his fellow Finn around the outside of Turn 1 immediately after.

Vettel followed suit swiftly and put pressure on Bottas into Turn 6 but was rebuffed, and Bottas had eked back out of DRS range when the Toro Rossos collided at the hairpin.

Pierre Gasly misjudged a move on Brendon Hartley and spun them both round, littering the track with broken carbon fibre and wing mirror glass that required a safety car in order to clear it up.

Verstappen and Ricciardo, who were running third and fifth either side of Hamilton after a good first stint on ultrasofts with the others on softs, immediately dived for the pits and rejoined fourth and sixth.

Ricciardo made short work of Raikkonen, who had only just switched to mediums before the safety car and also stayed out, before catching the squabbling Hamilton and Verstappen.

He passed his team-mate when Verstappen went off-track trying to pass Hamilton on the outside of Turn 7, then nailed Hamilton into the hairpin.

At this point Ricciardo was 2.8 seconds off the lead, but he hacked into that gap and breezed past Vettel on the back straight using DRS.

Bottas had a small lock-up soon after Ricciardo was into second, and with 12 laps to go they were nose-to-tail.

Ricciardo acted swiftly into Turn 4, getting inside Bottas even though his rival defended and forcing him to concede the place.

From there he bolted clear to win by 8.8 seconds as Bottas just about held off Raikkonen, who was given a free pass into third when Verstappen hit Vettel.

Verstappen had caught Vettel on lap 43 and tried an opportunistic move inside the hairpin as Vettel ran deep.

But the two collided when Vettel turned in and both spun in unison, delaying Hamilton in the process.

They rejoined but Verstappen picked up a ten-second time penalty, so even though he recovered to fourth on the road he was dropped to fifth – behind Hamilton – in the results.

That was no consolation to Vettel, who fell to eighth at the flag after struggling post-contact and was passed by Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.

Behind Vettel, who was furious at Alonso’s aggressive pass through the Turn 1-2 complex, Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen completed the points finishers.

What a difference 24 hours make for Daniel Ricciardo. Following an engine failure in FP3, the Red Bull team managed to repair the honey badger’s car just in time for qualifying. Ricciardo repays the result with a fine race win.

As for the incident between Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, that was a silly mistake by the Red Bull driver. Too impatient and misjudged the opportunity to pass the championship leader. A time penalty was issued to Verstappen but Vettel took a bigger hit, in loosing important points. An advice to Max – calm down.

Chinese Grand Prix, race results:
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 56 1h35m36.380s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 8.894s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 56 9.637s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 16.985s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 56 20.436s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 56 21.052s
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 56 30.639s
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 56 35.286s
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 56 35.763s
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 56 39.594s
11 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 56 44.050s
12 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 56 44.725s
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 56 49.373s
14 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 56 55.490s
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 56 58.241s
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 56 1m02.604s
17 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 56 1m05.296s
18 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 56 1m06.330s
19 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 56 1m19.066s
20 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 51 Not running

Drivers’ standings:
1 Sebastian Vettel 56
2 Lewis Hamilton 45
3 Valtteri Bottas 40
4 Daniel Ricciardo 37
5 Kimi Raikkonen 30
6 Nico Hulkenberg 22
7 Fernando Alonso 20
8 Max Verstappen 18
9 Pierre Gasly 12
10 Kevin Magnussen 11
11 Stoffel Vandoorne 6
12 Carlos Sainz 3
13 Marcus Ericsson 2
14 Esteban Ocon 1
15 Sergio Perez 0
16 Charles Leclerc 0
17 Romain Grosjean 0
18 Lance Stroll 0
19 Sergey Sirotkin 0
20 Brendon Hartley 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Ferrari 86
2 Mercedes 85
3 Red Bull-Renault 55
4 McLaren-Renault 26
5 Renault 25
6 Toro Rosso-Honda 12
7 Haas-Ferrari 11
8 Sauber-Ferrari 2
9 Force India-Mercedes 1
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

10 thoughts to “Ricciardo victorious in China as Verstappen and Vettel clashed”

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

    A collision, a safety car and a Red Bull gamble. Those three ingredients delivered the most exciting Grand Prix in recent memory. Sebastian Vettel led. Then Valtteri Bottas led. But it was Daniel Ricciardo who came out on top when it mattered….

    The opening stint of the Chinese Grand Prix was largely free of drama, with Vettel on course for his third win in as many races this season. But it exploded into life when Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly went from hero to zero.

    He committed F1’s cardinal sin by crashing into team mate Brendon Hartley at the hairpin on Lap 30 of the 56, scattering debris across the track.

    The safety car was called into action and Red Bull responded, pulling both Max Verstappen and Ricciardo into the pits from third and fifth respectively and fitting them with soft tyres.

    They may have lost a place apiece, but when the safety car was recalled, their pace advantage over the Ferraris of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Bottas and Lewis Hamilton became clear.

    Verstappen, ahead on the road, was best-placed to make the most of the turn of events, but he ran off track when trying an unrealistic move on Hamilton and then got it all wrong when he hit Vettel at the hairpin while trying to recover.

    His team mate Ricciardo made no mistake, however, showing him how it was done. He launched one of his trademark attacks from way back, to dive down the inside of Hamilton at the hairpin. He then picked of Vettel easily and then seized the lead from Bottas with a similarly bold move.

    The Australian than powered off into the distance to secure his first victory since last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Bottas second for the second successive race.

    It was still an impressive performance by Bottas, who made up for a lack of attack in Bahrain with a decisive move on Raikkonen for the lead. Had the safety car not been called, or had Bottas pitted at the same time as the Red Bulls, he would have likely have won.

    Raikkonen took third – a reward for a strong opening phase, which actually resulted in him falling back, and seemingly being hung out to dry by Ferrari as they appeared to try and use him to help bring Vettel back into play.

    Verstappen crossed the line fourth, but that turned into fifth as the stewards handed him a 10-second penalty for hitting Vettel. Hamilton, who has been off colour all weekend, salvaged fifth.

    Nico Hulkenberg was a superb sixth for Renault, with Fernando Alonso getting his elbows out and squeezing Vettel, who was struggling with his tyres, off track in the opening sequence for seventh.

    Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10 in a race that will live very long in the memory.

    The result tightens up the drivers’ championship, with Vettel’s lead narrowed to nine points over Hamilton, 54 to 45, with Bottas just five back on 40 and Ricciardo – who also set the fastest lap and picked up the Driver of the Day Award – leaping up to fourth on 37.

    In the constructors’ stakes, Mercedes now have a one-point advantage over Ferrari, 85 to 84, with Red Bull moving into a clear third place on 55.

  2. Big contrast for Red Bull Racing. Daniel Ricciardo victorious in China while Max Verstappen had a scrappy race despite grip advantage. The clash with championship leader Sebastian Vettel was stupid and Vestappen accepts blame for Vettel crash. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Max Verstappen has admitted he was to blame for the clash with Sebastian Vettel in the Chinese Grand Prix that cost him a podium chance.

    The Dutchman was pushing through the field and fighting Vettel for third place when he made a late move at the hairpin on lap 43 – clashing with his Ferrari rival and pitching both into a spin.

    The FIA stewards ruled that Verstappen was at fault for causing the collision and handed him a 10-second penalty, which dropped him from fourth to fifth in the end.

    Speaking after the race, Verstappen confessed that he had got it wrong.

    “I could see he was struggling on the tyres and tried to brake late in the corners,” said the Red Bull driver. “I locked the rears and hit him – it was, of course, my fault. Not what I want.

    “It is easy to say after I should have waited, and that probably would have been the best idea, but unfortunately it happened.”

    Following a spate of incidents in the first three races of the year, Verstappen’s latest clash has prompted suggestions that he may need to stop being so aggressive.

    But pushed on whether he needed to turn the aggression down, Verstappen said: “It is easy to comment. At the moment it is not going the way I like of course, but does it mean I have to calm down? I don’t think so.

    “It is very unfortunate those things happening and I need to analyse everything and try to come back stronger for the next races.”

    Vettel spoke to Verstappen in the post-race parc ferme to make clear his unhappiness at the incident, which dropped him down the order to eventually come home in eighth place.

    “I didn’t see him until very late,” said Vettel. “I left a little bit of room as well. To be honest I was expecting him to come earlier.

    “I had no intention to resist him because I saw with Daniel [Ricciardo] as well there was no point in doing so. They were just too fast on the fresh tyres.

    “So I didn’t want to compromise my race to the guys behind. But he made a mistake, he locked up, which happened. I guess he misjudged and sort of compromised both our results.”

    Asked about whether he felt Verstappen needed to calm down, the Ferrari driver said: “He has done enough races, but this can happen to also if you have done 300 races.

    “You mustn’t forget that inside the car the judgements are very difficult to make but you have to ultimately have these things in mind and make sure you don’t crash.

    “He could easily have taken his front wing off or have a puncture. So we were both lucky.”

  3. This was a disappointing weekend for the reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton. A difficult qualifying session followed by a challenging race. Lewis Hamilton admits to underperforming after China “disaster”. Motorsport.com has the full details.

    Lewis Hamilton admits that his side of the Mercedes garage is underperforming, based on what he’s described as a “disaster” of a Chinese Grand Prix.

    The world champion dropped several spots with a sluggish opening lap, before spending the first stint of the race battling to hold on to the back of Kimi Raikkonen in fifth position.

    He struggled to make much headway from there, ultimately being passed by both Red Bulls on fresher rubber in the late stages of the race, and only finishing fourth thanks to the clash between Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

    Reflecting on the performance, Hamilton admitted that it was a case of underperforming on his side of the Mercedes garage, and that a solution needs to be found quickly if he’s going to fight for a fifth title.

    “I was in no man’s land. I had no pace. I was just trying to hold on for whatever I had,” said Hamilton.

    “Obviously we’ve got a tough battle ahead of us, particularly on my side. I’ll say my side, but also us as a team, we’ve been underperforming.

    “Yesterday and today have been a disaster on my side, so I’ve got to try and rectify that and get myself back into normal performance mode. Otherwise more valuable points will be lost.

    “I’m thankful for a couple of incidents that happened ahead today, kept us kind of in the battle.”

    Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was equally brutal in his assessment of both Hamilton’s performance, and his squad’s general pace deficit to Ferrari.

    “The whole weekend we were just not good enough,” he told Sky.

    “This weekend we were probably third-fourth, when you look at the result today. And we don’t want to be third-fourth.

    “We just need to get our act together.”

    Wolff also lamented the bad timing of the safety car in terms of Valtteri Bottas’ victory hopes, after the Finn had managed to jump early leader Vettel during their sole stops.

    “I think that Valtteri would have deserved to win the race. He had a great day, great driving. But the luck has been going against us in these first couple of races, and today again. We had a Safety Car at the wrong moment.

    “It shakes everything up and the two Red Bulls were bold enough to pit for tyres. We thought track position was more important. We got it wrong, they got it right, and they deserved to win.”

  4. Max Verstappen gave victory in the Chinese Grand Prix away with his incident with Sebastian Vettel, according to Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko.

    Verstappen had benefitted from the safety car period triggered by a clash between the Toro Rosso drivers to switch to soft tyres and attack his medium-shod rivals in the latter part of the race.

    However, an overoptimistic move on Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel ended with the duo making contact and spinning.

    As a result, Verstappen was handed a 10-second penalty which relegated him to fifth position, the Dutchman having finished fourth on track.

    Verstappen accepted blame for the incident, and Marko insisted the driver was aware that he had lost victory.

    “Max overdid it by trying to overtake Vettel,” he told Movistar. “Yes, it was a mistake from him. He apologised. That can happen in racing.”

    Asked what he had told Verstappen after the two were seen talking after the race, he said: “That his time will come. He just shouldn’t overdo it. He knows what he lost.

    “There was a victory for him on the table, but he gave it away.

    “But still it was a very good drive from both our drivers. He is 19 or 20, he’s bloody young, and it can happen.”

    Daniel Ricciardo, who had started behind teammate Verstappen, went on to win the race from sixth on the grid.

    The Australian, who had suffered an engine failure in final practice, also benefitted from a switch to soft tyres during the SC period.

    Marko credited Red Bull’s mechanics for the job done on Saturday to allow Ricciardo to avoid a back-of-the-grid start.

    “With the other tyre choice we were also in good shape, but of course here quite often the safety car comes out and we reacted at the same time,” he said.

    “But it all started on Saturday when our mechanics managed to change the engine. Otherwise Ricciardo would have started last and then I don’t think this result would have been possible.

    “So big thanks to the whole team. Everybody did a fantastic job and the right thing.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  5. Championship leader and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel has praises Max Verstappen’s swift apology after crash. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Formula 1 world championship leader Sebastian Vettel says he appreciated Max Verstappen’s handling of their Chinese Grand Prix collision and the Red Bull driver’s prompt apology.

    Vettel, winner of the first two grands prix of the 2018 F1 season, was tapped into a spin by Verstappen 13 laps from the end of the Shanghai race as the Red Bull caught his third-placed Ferrari having taken on fresh tyres during a safety car period.

    Verstappen accepted full responsibility for the incident and approached Vettel to discuss it immediately after the race finished.

    “He came up straight after. He realised that he did a mistake,” said Vettel.

    “I said to him ‘look, the races are long and you threw your podium away’. He was lucky to continue, I was lucky to continue, but it was not necessary.

    “I think he got it. He was quite composed and realised that he messed up.

    “People were asking if it was a question of age, but it’s not. He’s done so many races.

    “We had a bit of tailwind the whole race and after 41 laps you know that it’s tricky to stop the car there. But it happens.

    “I appreciate the fact that he came to me straight away. I told him that was the way to solve it, face to face and not through the media or blowing something up.”

    Vettel, who had led the first part of the race before being jumped by Valtteri Bottas in the initial pitstops, underlined that he would have let Verstappen past without a fight given their respective tyre situations.

    Verstappen’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo used the same strategy to charge from sixth to victory in the final part of the race.

    “It was clear that the Red Bulls were faster,” said Vettel.

    “The way Daniel approached from behind there was no point to resist much and the same with Max.

    “I think he had a bad exit onto the big straight, otherwise I was just ready to let him go. He wasn’t there, so then you stay in front.

    “I gave a bit of room just in case he had a tiny lock-up and then obviously he had a big lock-up… That’s when we crashed.”

    Vettel resumed in sixth after the clash but struggled with a damaged car for the rest of the race and fell to eighth behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.

    “I think in a way I’m lucky that I got to the end of it,” Vettel added. “After a collision like that we might’ve stopped there.

    “The lucky thing was the car was still working. Obviously the floor was damaged and the balance was gone.

    “The car wasn’t the same after that. It had a lot of understeer.”

    Verstappen was given a 10-second time penalty for the collision, demoting him from fourth to fifth in the results.

  6. Daniel Ricciardo likes to do it the hard way. His sensational victory in China on Sunday was the sixth of his career. In all of them, he has never started the race higher than fourth. And once again, his trademark overtakes were the highlight of an absolute belter of a Grand Prix.

    Ricciardo came to Shanghai on the back of four retirements in his last six races. And his luck seemed unlikely to turn when he suffered an engine problem in FP3.

    But after recovering to sixth in qualifying and then running there for most of the race, the Red Bull driver was handed a lifeline when the Safety Car intervened following Pierre Gasly’s tangle with Toro Rosso team mate Brendon Hartley on lap 32.

    That proved the prelude to an amazing surge up the order, as Red Bull pitted both Ricciardo and team mate Max Verstappen for fresh tyres.

    Kimi Raikkonen was quickly dispatched for fifth, followed by Verstappen when the Dutchman messed up trying to overtake Lewis Hamilton. Then came moves on championship leader Sebastian Vettel before a brilliant lunge on Valtteri Bottas to take the lead.

    “I don’t know what it is,” said Ricciardo, who was understandably voted Driver of the Day. “I don’t seem to win boring races. They are all pretty fun.

    “It was hectic, I heard safety car [was being called] in T14. [The team] said we would double stop. It happened quickly.

    “That gave us a bit of grip on the restart. We didn’t think it would last that long but the tyres held up well and we had wicked pace on the softs.

    “Once I was aware we had the pace, I wasn’t going to let that slip. Every win I’ve had has been in a similar circumstance. It was crazy, a lot of fun. It was decisive, winning moves from the team. Thanks a lot.

    “Twenty four hours ago, I thought we might be starting at the back of the grid (after the engine problem).

    “Thanks to the boys yesterday. I thanked them after qualifying but today is the real reward. Thanks to everyone. The mechanics worked their butts off.”

    Ricciardo’s pass on Hamilton came from a long way back, while his move on Bottas for the lead was similarly bold.

    “Sometimes you have just got to lick the stamp and send it,” he said of the move on Hamilton. “I enjoyed it very much. We had the soft tyres, so I knew I could get more out of the braking than them. A lot of the time you get one chance to try so I make the most of every opportunity.

    “It was close [with Bottas], it was hard but fair. But I saw him defend so I wanted to go shallower, but he came a bit more. I thought about pulling out… no I’m just kidding… I knew there would be enough room, the tyres had enough grip. Worse case I went wide, and I’d have another go.”

    Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner was full of praise for the Australian. “Daniel has been clinical in the way he executed that race, his passing moves,” he said. “There was one move at Turn 14 he came from so far back – I think it was on Lewis – and you know, he just got the job done.

    “A fantastic team effort today. Hats off to the guys in the garage, they’ve pulled off two double pit stops as well, nailed the strategy and Daniel’s executed the perfect race.”

    Ricciardo was the only driver in 2017 to win a race from outside the top five, when he triumphed in Baku last year. Can he carry the momentum and defend that win when they regroup in Azerbaijan later this month?

    Source: Formula1.com

  7. This was a poor race for the defending champion according to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and commented that Lewis Hamilton was “not in the best place” in China. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Toto Wolff reckons Lewis Hamilton’s lacklustre Chinese GP was largely down to the Formula 1 world champion not being “in the best place” throughout the weekend.

    Hamilton has already labelled his fourth place in Shanghai as a “disaster”, admitting that his side of the Mercedes garage underperformed for much of the weekend.

    Expanding on Hamilton’s lack of form, Mercedes team boss Wolff said he felt his star driver wasn’t quite on song in China, something he says can happen even to the very best in the business.

    “Like the car, he was maybe not in the best place this weekend,” said Wolff.

    “He’s the best driver in my opinion, but also the best ones have days when it’s just not 100 per cent. And if underneath you have a car that’s not performing as expected, and tyres that are not doing what you think they should do, and then the strategy goes against you…

    “Actually we discussed that scenario this morning. Then everything just… goes in the wrong direction.”

    Wolff added that Hamilton’s woes were emphasised by a huge swing in tyre performance, going from struggling to turn the Pirellis on in qualifying to overheating on both compounds during the race.

    Yet rather than scrambling for a quick fix, he says the team will use the dominant pace is showed at the season-opener in Melbourne as a pointer to the car’s potential, and methodically come up with solutions.

    “We were overheating the tyres,” he said. “We’re not in a good place. We’re bouncing between freezing and overheating.

    “You can see when we hit the sweet spot like we did in Melbourne we are very fast, the lap pace of the car is very good. If you don’t hit the sweet spot, we didn’t hit is yesterday and today we’re just too slow.

    “In Formula 1 there is never a quick fix. You can see how fast the picture can change. In testing and in Melbourne you could predict that we would run away with the championship because the car was so dominant. And here we go three races in, and we’re not.

    “In my opinion, this is a great group of people. We just need to stick our heads together, stay calm, get the head down, and come up with solutions.

    “[I have] huge confidence in the people. They’ve proved that in the past.”

  8. Despite finishing in P7, Fernando Alonso admits Sebastian Vettel fight was “not fair”. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Fernando Alonso admitted his battle with Sebastian Vettel in the Chinese Grand Prix was “not fair” because of the damage the Ferrari driver had on his car.

    McLaren driver Alonso was able to erase a six-second gap to Vettel in the closing stages of the race and pass the German down the inside of Turn 1 to take seventh position.

    Vettel had dropped down the order after his crash with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the Ferrari showing visible damage on the right side of the floor area.

    Alonso conceded the pass was not a fair reflection of the cars’ actual respective pace.

    “It was good. Obviously it was not a fair fight because Sebastian had damage on his car and I was a little bit quicker on the corners,” said Alonso.

    “I was surprised when I saw a Ferrari not going too fast at the end. I asked what was the problem and apparently he had damage on his car so he was struggling a little bit on the corners.

    “He was running very wide in the corners, so in the first opportunity I saw the door open and went for it.

    “And in the end at one point the track finished so he kept going until there was grass, so you need to back off at one point.”

    Vettel went off the circuit after running out of room when Alonso overtook him, but the German said he was just happy to make it to the end of the race.

    “I was very vulnerable so he could have passed me another time,” Vettel added.

    “I think the way he dived in was now or never, and I obviously had to back off, otherwise we would have just crashed. I was just happy to finish.”

    Alonso, who has scored points in all three races so far this year, believes he could have enjoyed a better result if not for the safety car, which was deployed right after he had made his only pitstop.

    “The safety car didn’t help, definitely,” he said.

    “We were executing a one-stop strategy a little bit differently, with a very long first stint that I think would have paid off in the end, but I think the safety car opened the opportunity for everybody to put a new set of tyres and that was a shame for us.

    “At the same time I think it was a great battle and we were able to overtake. It was a nice feeling and great result for the team again.”

  9. Toro Rosso drivers Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly have revealed their Chinese Grand Prix crash was the result of a “miscommunication” over a planned position change.

    Gasly was coming up 18th-placed Hartley on fresher tyres at the midpoint of the race, and ended up pitching his teammate into a spin as he attempted to get past down the inside of the Turn 14 hairpin.

    The clash resulted in what ended up a race-changing safety car and was swiftly followed by a penalty for Gasly, who was eventually classified 18th to Hartley’s 20th.

    Speaking to media after the race, Gasly made it clear that he believed Hartley had been instructed to let him by – and that he was caught by surprise when the Kiwi turned for the corner as normal.

    “They told me on the radio ‘okay, Brendon is going to let you pass, at the end of the straight’. So I expected him to let me by, I went on the inside.

    “I expected him to leave me a bit of space to turn, and finally when he started to turn like normally and I was on the inside, was too late and there was nothing I could do.

    “I tried to brake and avoid him, was way too late, we made contact and basically that was it.

    “It was a shame, because of course the last thing you want is to have contact with your teammate, just a shame, but I think we misunderstood each other.

    “I expected him to do something and he probably expected something else.”

    Gasly revealed that the team had discussed position swaps before the race and that Turn 14 was the agreed spot for switching cars.

    And Hartley, for his part, insisted that he was going to let his teammate through on exit of Turn 14, rather than corner entry, as this was how he had done it in the first stint.

    “It was clearly a bit of miscommunication,” Hartley said.

    “We switched positions on the first stint as well because I was struggling on the ultrasofts, I let him by on the exit of Turn 14 and the second time I was asked, I planned to do the same.

    “But my feeling is he must have thought that I was opening the door on the entry, which was not the case.”

    The incident yielded a 10-second penalty for Gasly and two penalty points on his licence.

    “I mean, there was nothing we could do,” said Gasly about the sanction. “For sure on TV I think looks really bad for myself, but with what we had said, it was pretty clear that we’d make the driver swap there, I never expected him to turn like this.

    “So of course, if we would’ve been in a fight, I would not have tried this.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  10. Chinese Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo has described this triumph as “awesome” and the win is worth 50 races like Bahrain. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Daniel Ricciardo believes his Chinese Grand Prix victory is worth “50” bad experiences like the disastrous race in Bahrain that left him frustrated at Formula 1.

    A bold pass on Valtteri Bottas for the lead capped a stunning charge from Ricciardo after Red Bull opted to pit him during a safety car for fresh tyres.

    It came a week after Ricciardo retired from the Bahrain GP on the second lap, and 24 hours after only just making it out in time for qualifying in China following a spectacular engine failure.

    “It was awesome,” he said. “We really thought we were going to start the race from the back, just over 24 hours later to be here now… this sport’s crazy.

    “A week ago I was with my head down after two laps. Frustrated at the sport, frustrated at all the variables that are involved in the sport.

    “Sometimes I questioned why I chose this sport because there are so many other things outside your control.

    “It does get you down a lot. But when you have a day like this it’s worth 50 of those bad ones.”

    Ricciardo dived in for new soft tyres with 23 laps remaining, while erstwhile leader Bottas and his main challenger Sebastian Vettel stayed out on mediums having passed the pitlane entry before the safety car was deployed.

    He overtook Kimi Raikkonen before passing team-mate Max Verstappen when the youngster ran wide battling Lewis Hamilton.

    Ricciardo was not sure he would be able to make them last to the end and only seriously thought he could win once he realised he had “wicked pace”, then went on to pass Kimi Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel.

    Asked by Motorsport.com about his late dive inside the defending Bottas into Turn 6 to win the race, Ricciardo replied: “Opportunity be knockin’, that’s what I would say!

    “At the rate we were going through the field, and I could feel the tyres were holding on well, I was obviously fully set on the win.

    “I had pace over all the guys I got ahead but you still don’t want to sit behind for too long.

    “I saw Valtteri defend, I’d kind of committed from Turn 3 that I was gonna try.

    “It’s cool when you go wheel-to-wheel, it’s fun for drivers and it’s good TV.

    “I enjoyed it, it makes a bit sweeter than just cruising past on the straight so that was a lot of fun.”

    Bottas, who had jumped Vettel by pitting one lap earlier, said he was helpless as soon as he saw Ricciardo had cleared the rest of the field.

    “He was closing lap after lap with pretty big gains” said Bottas. “I was defending, obviously saw him very close in Turns 1/2/3.

    “From my side there was not much to do, try to defend but ultimately with the better tyres he could really brake quite a lot later and got inside.

    “We lost the win in the end, [but] we were still the first car to do the one-stop so that was good.

    “Initial feeling is disappointment because the win has slipped away.”

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