Daniel Ricciardo’s success at the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix has not just thrown the 2018 title race wide open but also proves that as the great man himself says, he “doesn’t win boring races”.
The “best overtaker in the business did it again,” said the BBC’s Andrew Benson following Ricciardo’s victory in Shanghai ahead of Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Australian Ricciardo surged from sixth to first to secure a “remarkable” victory and throw the F1 championship “wide open”. The Red Bull driver is “lighting up the 2018 season” with his performances on the track, and with his personality off it, Benson added.
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The F1 writer continued: “Daniel Ricciardo is gold dust on every level and his remarkable victory in the Chinese Grand Prix lit up what was already turning into an intoxicating Formula 1 season. The Red Bull driver somehow manages to be F1’s clown prince and the most irresistible racer on the grid all at the same time.”
Sky Sports calledRicciardo’s overtakes of Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Bottas “sublime”, while the Daily Mail’s Jonathan McEvoy described him as the “master conjurer who comes from next to nowhere to win races”. All of Ricciardo’s six F1 career victories have come from starting outside of the top three.
McEvoy wrote: “From sixth, fourth, fifth, fourth, tenth and sixth. And, in the case of his victory in China, nearly from the very back of the grid.”
Ricciardo is now 17 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship. The Red Bull ace believes he can challenge for the 2018 F1 title following his “stunning” win in China. He also told F1.com: “I don’t know what it is, I don’t seem to win boring races.”
Hamilton: China was a disaster
While Daniel Ricciardo was celebrating his victory, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton was left to rue a disappointing weekend.
Following his fourth-place finish in Shanghai, Hamilton described his performance as a “disaster”, Sky Sports reports. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also warned the team “need to get our act together”.
Hamilton said: “I was in no man’s land. I had no pace so was just trying to hold on for whatever I had. We’ve been underperforming and [Saturday and Sunday] have been a disaster on my side. I need to try and rectify that and get myself back into normal performance or otherwise more valuable points will be lost. I’m thankful for a couple of incidents that happened ahead and kept us in the battle.”
Hamilton’s fourth-placed finish means he is nine points behind the leader, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, in the F1 drivers’ championship. The British driver admitted that a fifth F1 championship will be “very tough” in 2018.
Verstappen apologies to Vettel and Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen has apologised for his collision with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel during the Chinese GP.
Sky Sports reports that Verstappen attempted to overtake Vettel on lap 43 but instead rammed into the Ferrari and locked up. Verstappen had to settle for fifth in Shanghai, while Vettel finished eighth.
In a message on Twitter, Verstappen said: “Congrats to @danielricciardo for his great win. Unfortunately I made a mistake and hit Seb. That compromised both our races. There is nothing I can change now except analyse my performance and come back stronger. Apologies to @redbullracing who did an amazing job.”
ESPN reports that Vettel was “impressed” by Verstappen’s swift apology. The Ferrari star said: “He came up straight after. He realised that he did a mistake. I said to him, ‘Look, the races are long and you threw your podium away.’ He was lucky to continue, I was lucky to continue, but it was not necessary.”
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