Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was the winner in an eventful Chinese Grand Prix, winning his team their first race victory of the new season.
It was an eventful weekend for the Australian in general, whose engine had failed during practice on Friday. But he was able to perform overtaking manoeuvres on all 4 Mercedes and Ferrari drivers, and took advantage of the team’s pit-stop strategy to take the chequered flag.
His teammate Max Verstappen crossed the line in 4th, but received a time penalty for causing a collision with Sebastian Vettel and was classified 5th.
Speaking after the end of the race, Ricciardo spoke of his delight at pulling off the success, and said it was a reward for the team who helped rebuild the car.
He said, “That was fun, a lot of fun and I just about believe it now. From where we were yesterday you would not have believed we would be here today. For me this is a massive reward for the mechanics and engineers, they really earned this victory. Not only for the pit stops and strategy today but for getting me out in Qualifying yesterday which enabled me to get in the fight for victory, they should be very, very proud. The problem in free practice wasn’t their fault but they did all the hard work and made today happen.
“At the start of the race I thought we could fight for a podium but I didn’t really expect a win; then after the safety car and when I could see the way the race was going I knew we had a chance. Once I had a sniff of victory I wasn’t going to let it go. The team made a very quick decision to stop both cars under the safety car and it was a winning decision.”
As for Verstappen, he was left to contemplated what might have been after both the collision with Vettel, and an incident where he was forced wide when trying to overtake Lewis Hamilton.
He said, “I tried to pass Lewis on the outside but there were too many marbles and I went a bit wide, it was a shame as I was in a good position but ended up losing a position to Daniel. It was still an open race with the possibility to finish first and second but unfortunately I made some mistakes.
“Seb was struggling a bit on the tyres so I knew I had an opportunity, I tried to take him on the inside but locked the rears and ended up hitting him. I am disappointed with myself that this is the outcome of the race. The team executed everything perfectly today, we had a great strategy and the car was behaving well so it is a real shame. It isn’t going my way at the minute so I’ll go away and analyse this and hopefully come back stronger. A massive well done to the team on such a strong weekend and of course to Daniel on the race win.”