Shanghai, China - Take a collision, have the safety car come out for a bit and Red Bull taking a massive gamble - these were the three main ingredients that gave us one of the most exciting Grand Prix finale in recent memory. It was Sebastian Vettel upfront then it was Valtteri Bottas before Daniel Ricciardo took the lead all the way to the finishing line.
The Chinese GP started off relatively drama-less with Ferrari’s Vettel looking set to take his third win of the season but that all came to a screeching halt when Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly crashed into fellow team-mate, Brendon Hartley at the hairpin on Lap 30 of 56, littering the track with pieces of their Hondas everywhere.
That prompted the emergence of the safety car with Red Bull deciding to pull both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo back into the pits for soft tyres from their third and fifth placing respectively. This would prove to be the decisive move later on. Rejoining the race, the duo lost a place each but once the safety car was recalled, their pace advantage over the Ferraris and Mercs became very obvious.
Verstappen looked set to take the lead but he ran off track while trying an impossible move on Hamilton with things taking a turn for the worst as the young Dutchman hit Vettel at the hairpin while trying to recover.
Ricciardo on the hand made zero errors, launching one of his signature attacks from way back to dive down the inside of Hamilton at the hairpin before picking off Vettel easily and seizing the lead from Bottas with a similarly bold manoeuvre.
From there on out, the Australian powered his way to secure his first victory since last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Bottas taking second for his second successive race. It was a spectacular race for the latter who made up for his poor performance at Bahrain with a decisive attack on Raikkonen for the lead earlier. If it wasn’t for the safety car or had Mercedes pitted Bottas at the same time as Red Bull, the Merc driver would probably have won.
Raikkonen took the final place on podium - a suitable reward for a brilliant race though it would seem he was falling back as Ferrari was trying to use him to assist Vettel in coming back into play. Verstappen came fourth but was regulated to fifth after F1 stewards handed him a 10-second penalty for hitting Vettel. Hamilton who hadn’t been doing much all weekend took fourth place.
Nico Hulkenberg clinched a well deserved sixth place for Renault while Fernando Alonso took seventh for McLaren, managing to squeeze Vettel out of the way in the dying minutes. Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Haa’s Kevin Magnussen rounded up the top 10 in a race that will fondly be remembered for years to come!