Ricciardo took advantage of some clever Red Bull tactics with a brilliant drive. (Reuters: Aly Song)
Daniel Ricciardo has pulled off a brilliant drive to win the Chinese Grand Prix after starting the race from sixth on the grid.
The Australian benefitted from quick thinking from the Red Bull team, which pitted both its drivers at opportune moments in order to wrestle control of the race from Ferrari and Mercedes.
“Holy s***!” was all Ricciardo could initially offer over the team radio after he was shown the chequered flag, with his team boss Christian Horner praising a “clinical” drive.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas finished second and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen third but the driver of the day was without a doubt Ricciardo, whose daring passing moves had the commentators gasping in disbelief.
It was Ricciardo’s sixth win in Formula 1, with every one of those wins coming from outside a top three grid position, cementing his status as one of the most exciting drivers to watch in the sport.
His passing move on Lewis Hamilton on the turn 14 hairpin from well back was particularly audacious, seemingly catching the four-time world champion by surprise.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to lick the stamp and send it,” Ricciardo said of the move.
“I don’t know what it is, I don’t seem to win boring races. They’re all pretty fun. I didn’t expect that,” he said after the race.
“Put ourselves back 24 hours and I thought I might be starting from the back of the grid,” Ricciardo said of Red Bull’s engine troubles, which have plagued the team early in the season.
More to come.