Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Ricciardo gets sixth career F1 win in China

Published:Monday | April 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia celebrates on the podium after winning the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai yesterday. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

SHANGHAI (AP):

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo yanked off his right shoe, poured champagne into it as he stood on the podium, and then drank up to his unlikely victory in yesterday's Chinese Grand Prix.

The Australian started from the third row but took advantage when the safety car came out on the 31st lap to allow him to get fresh, soft tires when the other leaders were running on worn rubber and could not get in quickly to change.

Ricciardo got quicker and quicker and took the lead on the 45th lap of the 56-lap race, overtaking Valtteri Bottas with a dive on the inside past the Mercedes driver.

"A lot of times, you only get one chance, so I make the most of every opportunity," Ricciardo said. "I don't seem to win boring races. They all are pretty fun, but that was unexpected."

Bottas called it a "fair" pass and finished second with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in third.

Ricciardo said he knew he had a great chance with the fresh rubber. And he knew he got a bit lucky.

"That was obviously giving us a good little bit of grip on the restart," Ricciardo said. "Once I was aware we had the pace, I wasn't going to let that slip."

Red Bull's victory leaves the Formula One season in a scramble after just three races. There is no clear favourite and plenty of questions.

Mercedes, the power of the last few seasons, has not won any of the first three races with defending champion Lewis Hamilton and Bottas at the wheel. Hamilton finished fourth yesterday and was never a factor.

Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari won the first two races in Australia and Bahrain but failed to capitalise on his pole position in China. He led for the first 20 laps but fell back, first due to a pit stop and then after a collision with Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the 43rd lap. Vettel finished eighth.