Daniel Ricciardo's quali close shave was 'really close'

Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo and Verstappen were not early contenders but the deployment of the safety vehicle on the 32nd of 56 laps, after the Toro Rosso pair Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley collided and left debris on track, swung the race Red Bull's way.

Vettel had dominated the early section of the race but was jumped by Bottas after the first pit stops and worse was to come as after he was overtaken by Ricciardo, Verstappen had a go at the hairpin that failed and spun the pair.

Mercedes and Ferrari chose to leave their cars on medium-compound tyres that by then were about 10 laps old, but Red Bull made a decision to switch to fresh softs and that gave them a decisive pace advantage.

Despite feeling that fifth was his expected position in Qualifying, the twenty-year-old felt there was time to be found if they had been able to maximise their potential with the engine, but overall, the pace deficit down the long straights at the Shanghai International Circuit was just too much to make up in the corners.

While pleased to get out and eventually qualify sixth fastest, behind the Ferrari and Mercedes quartet and teammate Max Verstappen, Ricciardo said his patience is being tested with Red Bull's Renault engine. "We've kind of had our ups and downs the last few years so it's not new to me but I would say that after winter testing we didn't expect to be here in race three".

Hamilton apologised to his team for losing places.

The German locked a wheel going into the hairpin on lap 43 and ran a little wide. Verstappen was given a 10s penalty for the incident.

Before the race Verstappen's team had reminded him not to get caught up in any incidents following a series of poor decisions in the first two races of the season.

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Vettel was also passed by the McLaren of Fernando Alonso two laps from the end.

Bottas's clever slide past Raikkonen around the outside of Turns 1 and 2 on Lap 27 was a thing of beauty, as was Daniel Ricciardo's effort to move into P5 past the Finn on Lap 38.

Ahead, Verstappen looked to pass Hamilton in a repeat of their duel from Bahrain but the Dutchman was too aggressive trying to pass the world champion at the high-speed Turn 7 and would go off track allowing his teammate by.

Behind him, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg drove a solid race for sixth, ahead of Alonso and an angry Vettel.

Driver of the day: Again, it's hard to go past Ricciardo. He had a tyre advantage, yes, but he made a series of brilliant overtaking moves, and gave Verstappen a lesson in how to balance aggression with judgement.What happens next?

The next round of the title heads to Baku for the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan in two weeks.

"I don't seem to win boring races, they're all pretty fun", Ricciardo said on the podium.

The French producer has had a challenging time coming to terms with all the 1.6 liter v 6 turbo-hybrid electricity units launched at the beginning of both 2014 and, five years ago, nevertheless frees Mercedes and Ferrari.

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