Friday, 20 Apr 2018
Sport

Surprise in Shanghai: Daniel Ricciardo wins the Chinese GP, Sebastian Vettel is only 8th

F1

CU of China

Published on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 09:56 | Updated 04/15/2018 at 10:39
At the end of a race rich in twists, Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) won the sixth victory of his career Sunday in China. Long leader, Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) finished only 8th.
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Sixth career success for Ricciardo. (Aly Song / Reuters)

The race: What a show!

Liberty Media, the American owner of F1, wonders how to revive the show in F1. After the Grand Prix of China, which had three leaders and the victory of Daniel Ricciardo, only 6th on the grid, we realize that it is not so complicated. Just let the drivers make mistakes, hang on the track, rely on pit stops or a safety car to restart the suspense, and add Max Verstappen to the menu … While Sebastian Vettel, after a difficult start where he had to pack down Kimi Räikkönen to keep his first place, spent the first part of the race in the lead and, it was thought, headed for a fairly quiet victory, his third in three races this season, a first rebound took place. In the first pitstop salvo, Valtteri Bottas attempted, and succeeded, the undercut on the German driver, and took the lead, on the 21st lap. But, ten laps later, Pierre Gasly believed that his teammate Brendon Hartley opened the door at the end of the straight. A misunderstanding that ended in a clash between the two Toro Rosso. Because of the debris on the track, the safety car had to come out, and the Red Bull took the opportunity to go to the pits a second time. An aggressive strategy that succeeded them later. At the restart, Max Verstappen, 4th, and Daniel Ricciardo, 6th, became the fastest drivers on the track, and started catching up with all their rivals. But if the Dutchman, too aggressive and optimistic, nearly touched Lewis Hamilton, in the 40th round, before hanging Vettel three laps later (penalized by 10 “, he was ranked 5th behind Hamilton), his Australian teammate was showed him much more cautious, and much more efficient, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel and finally Bottas, at the end of a very daring overtaking, no one could resist him and it is in tears on the podium that he has celebrated his sixth victory in F1.

The winner: Incredible Ricciardo!

Friday, after the explosion of his Renault engine in free practice 3, Daniel Ricciardo had to wonder if he would be able to play the qualifications. His mechanics worked hard to get him into Q1 three minutes before the end of the session. Finally, the Australian managed to save sixth place on the grid, and on Sunday he turned it into a victory. Ricciardo was successful, it is true, with the release of the safety car just at the right moment to allow him to return to the pits, and change tires a second time. Equipped with soft tires, the Australian then made superb overtaking against Ferrari and Mercedes, a priori faster. For the sixth time in his career, the Australian wins in F1, without ever starting from pole.

The race fact: the safety car changes everything

Gasly, heroic in Bahrain, made a mistake as a beginner in Shanghai, hanging his teammate Hartley at the end of the straight. A racing event that revived … the race, with the intervention of the safety car. An exit a bit late, and that prevented Bottas and Vettel from entering the pits, while the Red Bull were able to enjoy. With their new tires, Verstappen, and especially Ricciardo, were very good in the second part of the GP, and have turned everything upside down. But without this safety car, fortunately non-virtual, the outcome would have been quite different.

Fabrice Bosset

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