Daniel Ricciardo earnt Red Bull’s first win of the 2018 season after two masterful overtakes in one of the most memorable races in China in recent memory.
It’s hard to argue the Australian didn’t deserve to win at the Shanghai International Circuit. Ricciardo overtook Hamilton, set the fastest lap, comfortably took Vettel as the Ferrari struggled with the pace of Red Bull, before finding a gap to pass Bottas and take the lead.
His teammate, however, featured in the most dramatic moment with an audacious move that compromised the entire race. Max Verstappen was over-eager once again when he tried to get ahead of Vettel. The two collided, causing them both to spin and Verstappen was handed a ten-second penalty. This won’t concern Ricciardo who is a free agent after 2018 and will be on the radar of the world’s elite after his excellent performance.
Do Mercedes need some fresh thinking?
The Chinese GP wasn’t only an entertaining race but the event may have reshaped the whole title battle. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull could all be prompted to think differently.
After qualifying, Damon Hill said the tide could be turning. At a circuit where Mercedes had previously claimed six consecutive pole positions, the world champions were well-beaten. Significantly, it is the first time in the turbo-hybrid engine era that started in 2014 where Mercedes have gone three consecutive races without victory.
Talking about the Mercedes W09 car they launched this season, Hamilton admitted on Sunday night, “I struggled with the car. I need to get myself back into normal performance or otherwise more valuable points will be lost.” He still hasn’t signed a new deal for next year with the Silver Arrows.
It’s important to point out that Bottas was driving to victory in Shanghai prior to the Safety Car restart. Mercedes can rectify this slight slump in form at the next race in Azerbaijan at the end of the month.
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*Photo credit: Vladimir Rys